Warm pre-stress (WPS) is the process of subjecting a pre-cracked component to a load cycle at a temperature higher than subsequent operating temperatures. This process is widely acknowledged as being able to enhance the load to fracture, especially in ferritic steels which exhibit lower shelf cleavage fracture.

Various models exist to predict this type of enhancement, with the Chell model being one of the most widely used within industry. Previous research conducted by Van Gelderen et al. have reformulated the Chell model to create a method of undertaking Monte Carlo Simulations (MCS) to study the effect of WPS on brittle fracture.

Following on from this research, the Chell model could effectively be reversed providing a means of predicting the underlying fracture toughness from experimental WPS data. It also offers the possibility of assessing whether or not a specific specimen has indeed seen an enhancement, solely based on its experimental apparent toughness post WPS.

The reverse Chell model was applied to different experimental data and provided reasonable estimates of the original fracture toughness. In the same way that the traditional Chell model offers conservative estimates, the reverse Chell model also provides “reverse conservative” estimates of the original fracture toughness. It was also used to provide confidence that a typical fatigue pre-cracking procedure performed according to ASTM standard E399 would not be sufficient to induce a WPS benefit on the specimens. This type of check can be of particularly interest when manufacturing small scale specimens (small scale Single Edge Notch Bend (SENB) or miniature sized Compact Tension C(T) specimens); a practice often favoured by industry to maximise the number of tests possible.

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