If a single subsurface flaw is detected that is close to a component's free surface, a flaw-to-surface proximity rule is used to determine whether the flaw should be treated as a subsurface flaw, or transformed to a surface flaw. The transformation from subsurface to surface flaw is adopted as flaw-to-surface proximity rules in all fitness-for-service (FFS) codes. These proximity rules are applicable when the component's free surface is without a stress concentration. On the other hand, subsurface flaws have been found under notches, such as roots of bolts, toes in welded joints, or geometrical discontinuities of components. The stress intensity factors of the subsurface flaws are affected by the stress concentrations caused by the notches. The stress intensity factor of the subsurface flaw increases with increasing stress concentration factor of the notch and decreasing ligament distance between tip of the subsurface flaws and the notch, for a given notch width. Such subsurface flaws are transformed to surface flaws at a distance from the notch tip for conservative evaluations. This paper shows the interactions of stress intensity factors of subsurface flaws under stress concentration fields. Based on the interaction, a flaw-to-surface proximity criterion is proposed for a circular flaw under the stress concentration field induced by a notch.

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