Subsurface flaws are sometimes found as blowholes near free surfaces of structural components. Net-section stress at the ligament between the free component surface and the subsurface flaw increases when the ligament size is short. It can be easily expected that the stress intensity factor at the tip of the subsurface flaw increases with decreasing the ligament size. Fitness-for-service (FFS) codes provide flaw-to-surface proximity rules, which are transformation from subsurface to surface flaw. Although the concepts of the proximity rules of the FFS codes are the same, the specific criteria for the rules on transforming subsurface flaws to surface flaws are significantly different among FFS codes. This study demonstrates the proximity criteria provided by the FFS codes and indicates that the increment of the stress intensity factors before and after the transformation depends on the flaw aspect ratio and the ligament size at the transformation from subsurface to surface flaws. In addition, it is shown that remaining fatigue lives for pipes with flaws are strongly affected by the ligament size at the transformation from subsurface to surface flaws.

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