When multiple surface flaws are detected in pressure components, their potential interaction is to be assessed to determine whether they must be combined or evaluated independently of each other. This assessment is performed through the flaw characterization rules of Fitness-For-Service (FFS) Codes. However, the specific combination criteria of surface flaws are different among the FFS Codes. Most of the time, they consist of simple criteria based on distance between flaws and flaw depth. This paper aims at proposing alternative characterization rules reflecting the actual level of interaction between surface planar flaws. This interaction depends on several parameters such as the relative position of flaws, the flaw sizes and their aspect ratio. Thanks to numerous three-dimensional XFEM simulations, best suited combination criteria for surface planar flaws are derived by considering the combined influence of these parameters.

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