As the localized temperature drop induced by the Joule-Thomson cooling effect in a leak causes a reduction in the fracture toughness at the crack front, leak-before-break approach that does not take this effect into account may be unconservative. In this paper, argon was selected as the experimental gas used in the experiment due to its incombustibility and similar Joule-Thomson coefficient to that of methane. An experimental pressure vessel with a design pressure of 250 bar was designed and fabricated. Liquid nitrogen cracking method was employed to fabricate a realistic through-thickness crack in a test plate. Under the condition of ambient temperature of 30 °C and maximum internal pressure of 91 bar, the temperature of argon at the exit of the crack and the measured lowest temperature of metal near the crack are −9.2 °C and 7.9 °C, respectively.

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