Weld strength mismatch is a key factor in the strain based assessment of flawed girth welds under tension. A strength overmatching weld shields potential flaws within the weld itself from remotely applied deformations and consequently reduces crack driving force. Although this effect has been recognized for decades, different weld strength overmatch definitions exist and it is not yet fully established which of those is most relevant to a strain based flaw assessment. In an effort to clarify this unsolved question, the authors have performed a large series of parametric finite element analyses of curved wide plate tests. This paper provides an experimental validation of the model and subsequently discusses representative results. It is found that crack driving force is influenced by the shape of the pipe metals’ stress-strain curves, which influences the representativeness of two common mismatch definitions (based on yield strength and on ultimate tensile strength). It can be concluded from further observations that effects of strength mismatch on strain capacity of a flawed girth weld are best described on the basis of a flow stress, defined as the average of yield and ultimate tensile strength. Based on the observations, a framework for a new strain capacity equation is proposed.

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