One important element of fracture mechanics assessment in pipelines is how to determine the relevant fracture toughness (J-resistance or CTOD-resistance (crack-tip opening displacement)) for nonlinear fracture mechanics analysis. The general practice using a standard fracture mechanics specimen is known to often provide conservative estimates of toughness due to differences in crack-tip constraints between standard specimens and actual components.

To improve the accuracy of predicting pipeline failure, various non-standard fracture mechanics specimens have been suggested over the past few decades. Among the several non-standard test specimens, a curved wide-plate in tension is often employed to predict fracture behavior of cracked components, for instance, in gas transportation pipelines.

In order to show validity of a curved wide-plate in tension, the fracture toughness values from a full-scale pipeline test have been compared with those from a curved wide-plate in tension, and crack-tip constraints of a curved wide-plate in tension have also been compared with those of actual pipelines or other specimens during last decades. It is well known that a crack-tip constraint of test specimens, including curved wide-plates in tension, depends on many geometric and material parameters, for instance, crack length, thickness and width of specimen and material’s hardening characteristic. Thus, in order to obtain relevant fracture resistance from a curved wide-plate in tension representing accurate crack-tip constraint of pipeline of interest, variations of crack-tip constraints of curved wide-plates in tension according to various in-plane and out-of-plane constraint conditions should systematically be quantified.

In the present study, systematic 3-dimensional finite element analyses attempt to investigate the effect of in-plane and out-of-plane parameters on crack-tip constraints of a curved wide-plate in tension.

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