Criteria for predicting pressure vessel performance based on fracture toughness are reviewed in general terms. Experimental studies of small pressure vessels fabricated of high toughness, high strength steel 4330V (Mod + Si) are described. Data presented include fatigue life in presence of a small part-through-crack and burst properties of the fatigue cracked cylinders. Interpretation of the fatigue data is based on Paris’ relationship  
dadN=K4M.
The failure stresses are discussed in relation to the stress elevating effect of local bulging on the apparent fracture toughness. The behavior observed in testing full scale high strength pressure vessels fabricated from materials having intermediate fracture toughness, namely, D6A steel at 200,000-psi yield strength and 300M steel at 230,000-psi yield strength and materials having limited fracture toughness, namely, twenty percent nickel maraging steel at 280,000-psi yield strength, are discussed in relation to the ratio of fracture toughness to plane-strain fracture toughness based on the part-through-crack model. Precautions necessary for fabrication and inspection to insure reliable performance are discussed.
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