The reciprocal effect between a quarter-circle corner crack and a non-aligned surface crack of comparable size is addressed in the present study. The significance of understanding the reciprocal effect between the non-aligned parallel cracks is to assist in the evaluation of non-aligned multiple cracks as required in various fitness-for-service codes. For non-aligned parallel cracks, on-site inspection needs to decide whether the cracks should be treated as coalesced or separate multiple cracks. In the existing literature, criteria and standards for the adjustment of multiple non-aligned cracks are very source dependent, and those criteria and standards are often derived from on-site service experience without rigorous and systematic verification. Based on this observation, the authors previously reported on the effect of an embedded parallel crack on an edge crack in 2-D scenarios and, more recently, in 3-D scenarios of a circular corner crack influenced by a parallel surface crack. It may be just as important to evaluate the mutual effect of a quarter-circle corner crack on a non-aligned surface crack as reflected in their stress intensity factors (SIFs). In the present study, the quarter-circle corner crack and the non-aligned surface crack are assumed to be of the same length a2 = a1 = 15mm. While keeping throughout the entire analysis the geometry of the quarter-circle corner crack unchanged, the relative depth of the semi-elliptical surface crack is varied so that b1/a1 = 0.2–1.0. For each particular case a pair of horizontal (H) and vertical (S) separation distances between the two cracks is chosen (H/a2 = 0.4–2 and S/a2 = −0.5–2) and the SIFs along the 3D crack fronts are extracted for both the corner and the surface crack. The reciprocal effect on the SIFs for both cracks are discussed. It is found that the mutual influence between the corner crack and the surface crack are equally important, and each may dominate the decision making based on present criteria and standards in Fitness-for-Service.

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