The extended finite element method (XFEM) [1, 2] can approximate the discontinuous displacement field near cracks independently of the finite element mesh through the use of interpolation functions, which can describe the displacement field near cracks in the structure. Therefore, XFEM is appearing as an alternative to conventional contour integral method for crack growth analysis. Most benchmarks for XFEM in published literature were mostly for the through-wall crack or loadings were under tension or bending moment. Subsea equipment provided by FMC Technologies is used under the most extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. Due to the fact that most equipment in subsea is pressure containing, assessment of cracks and crack growth under pressure cycles is an essential part of the integrity assessment. The implementation of fracture mechanic based fatigue to analysis can extend equipment life while improving model accuracy.

In this paper, crack growth modelling in a thick wall cylinder was performed by XFEM embedded in Abaqus [3]. The case study of semi-elliptical axial surface crack at internal surface was selected. The fracture and fatigue results based on LCF analysis were compared with contour integral approach and published experimental data [4]. One of the advantages of XFEM is it can easily accommodate changes in the crack propagation direction for mixed mode loading.

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