Welds and heat affected zones have the distribution of the residual stress or the yield strength. The crack growth evaluation is conventionally conducted using stress intensity factor in those regions. However, the stress intensity factor may be invalid when the residual stress distribution or yield strength distribution changes in the vicinity of a crack tip. The reason is that the distributions around the crack tip affect the plastic zone size and the stress intensity factor inappropriately represents the stress state in the vicinity of a crack tip. In this study, the residual stress distribution and yield strength distribution was assumed along the crack propagation path and the validity of the stress intensity factor was discussed on that condition. As a result, the stress intensity factor tended to be invalid when the steep residual stress distribution or the steep yield strength distribution. When the steep distribution exists, the crack growth evaluation should be conducted using a parameter considering the elastoplastic behavior near the crack tip. For that purpose, the authors proposed new method of the plastic zone correction using a differential term of the stress intensity factor. The new method was demonstrated through the case study for stress corrosion cracking of nuclear power plants.

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