In this study, an engineering approach for estimations of fracture mechanics parameters, i.e., J-integral and crack opening displacement (COD), for complex-cracked pipes was suggested based on reference stress concept, where stress-strain data of the material was used to assess structural integrity of complex-cracked pipes. In the present study, new reference loads that can reduce the dependency on strain hardening of the material have been suggested for complex-cracked pipes under each loading mode. By using the proposed optimized reference load for complex-cracked pipes, J-integral and COD estimation procedures have been proposed based on the reference stress concept together with the elastic solutions for complex-cracked pipes. The predicted J-integrals and CODs based on the proposed method have been validated against published experimental data and FE results using actual stress–strain data. Moreover, the predictions using the proposed methods are also compared with those using the existing solutions for simple through-wall cracks (TWCs) based on reduced thickness analogy concept.

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