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Influence of the Interaction on

Stress Intensity Factor of


Semielliptical Surface Cracks
The interaction between multiple surface cracks is an important consideration in the
Masayuki Kamaya cracking behavior due to thermal fatigue and stress corrosion cracking. However, it is
Institute of Nuclear Safety System, Inc., difficult to evaluate the intensity of the interaction quantitatively because there are many
64 Sata, factors, such as the relative position, size, and geometry of the cracks. Furthermore, the
Mihama-cho, Mikata-gun, influence of the interaction differs with the crack tip position along the front. In this study,
Fukui 919-1205, Japan to investigate the intensity of interaction, the stress intensity factor (SIF) of interacting
semielliptical surface cracks was evaluated by the finite element method and finite ele-
ment alternating method. These methods enable us to evaluate the SIF of interacting
cracks for various conditions. The analysis results reveal that the change in the averaged
SIF along the crack front caused by coalescence of two cracks can be estimated from the
change in the area size. The maximum interaction can be estimated by a simple addition
of the area size of two cracks regardless of the loading condition and relative crack size.
To exclude the conservativeness caused by the current combination rule, new criteria are
shown. 关DOI: 10.1115/1.2826424兴

Introduction ing cracks for various conditions, such as relative position, rela-
tive size, aspect ratio, and loading condition. The average of the
The stress intensity factor 共SIF兲 of interacting surface cracks
SIF along the crack front is used as a parameter representing the
has been investigated by numerical analyses, such as the finite intensity of the interaction. Based on the analysis results, the re-
element method 共FEM兲 关1–4兴 and the body force method 关5,6兴, lationship between the magnitude of the interaction and the area
and it was revealed that the SIF is magnified when the cracks size of the interacting cracks is evaluated, and the validity of the
approach each other. Since the enhanced SIF causes the crack current combination rule is discussed together with the proposed
growth to accelerate, it is important to know the change in the SIF one.
due to the interaction. The influence of the interaction on the SIF
is dependent not only on the distance between cracks and on crack
geometry such as the aspect ratio and loading condition, but also Calculation Procedure
on relative size. Furthermore, the magnitude of the change in the Two types of interacting crack models were used for the analy-
SIF is different at each crack tip position along the crack front. At ses, as shown in Fig. 1. The first one consisted of two interacting
interacting surface cracks of the same plane, the increase in the semielliptical cracks in the same plane. The distance between the
SIF due to interaction is larger at the surface point of the neigh- cracks was represented by a parameter S. If the cracks approach
boring side than at the other side and middle position. Therefore, each other, S decreases and finally becomes zero. The other model
it is not easy to evaluate the influence of the interaction on the corresponded to coalesced cracks of which S is zero. These mod-
crack growth behavior. els are referred to as the separated crack model and the combined
In the in-service plants, multiple cracks are often found to be in crack model, respectively. The ratio of crack depth, a1, and half
close proximity to one another 关7兴, so the influences of the inter- crack length at the surface, c1, was set to a1 / c1 = 0.5 and 0.8. The
action on the SIF must be taken into account when evaluating the size of the other crack, a2 and c2, was set to a2 / a1 = 0.3– 1.0, while
crack growth and fracture. In the current fitness-for-service codes, the ratio was kept at a2 / c2 = a1 / c1.
such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 共ASME兲 As shown in Fig. 2, the cracks were located on a plate, of which
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section XI 关8兴 or the Japan So- thickness t, half-length B, and half-width of the plate W were
ciety of Mechanical Engineers 共JSME兲 Fitness-for-Service Code t / a1 = 5, B / a1 = 20, and W / a1 = 16. Poisson’s ratio of the material
关9兴, multiple discrete cracks are combined and treated as a single was taken to be 0.3. The plate was subjected to a tensile and
crack if the distance between two cracks satisfies a simple crite- bending stress of magnitude ␴0.
rion. However, due to the complexity of the interacting phenom- The FEAM was employed for the SIF evaluation of the sepa-
enon, the combination rules were pointed out to be excessively rated crack model, while the conventional FEM was used for the
conservative and so were revised based on evaluations of the SIF combined crack model. The FEAM is an alternating technique in
关10兴. conjunction with the FEM analysis and the analytical solution for
In this study, to investigate the influence of the interaction on an elliptical crack in an infinite solid subject to arbitrary crack-
the growth behavior due to fatigue and stress corrosion cracking, face traction 关11,22兴, and allows us to evaluate precisely the SIF
the SIFs of interacting semielliptical surface cracks were evalu- of interacting surface cracks without a finite element mesh for a
ated by the FEM and finite element alternating method 共FEAM兲 cracked body 关11–21兴. Namely, the SIFs under different S and
关11–21兴. These methods enable us to evaluate the SIF of interact- a2 / a1 conditions can be evaluated using the same finite element
mesh, which is shown in Fig. 3. Fine elements were adopted
around the crack portion for an accurate analysis, although a
Contributed by the Pressure Vessel and Piping Division of ASME for publication cracked mesh was not included. The mesh consists of 171,606
in the JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received January 4,
2006; final manuscript received October 11, 2006; published online January 30,
eight-noded solid elements. The validity and accuracy of the
2008. Review conducted by Douglas Scarth. Paper presented at the 2005 ASME FEAM for interacting surface cracks were confirmed in a previous
Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference 共PVP2005兲, Denver, CO, July 17–21, 2005. study 关20兴. Figure 4 shows the finite element mesh used for the

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Fig. 1 Geometry of interacting surface cracks. „a… S > 0. „b… S
= 0.

combined crack model of a1 / c1 = 0.8. Since only a1 = a2 cases


were analyzed under S = 0 condition, one quarter of the plate was Fig. 4 Finite element mesh for FEM analyses „for the com-
bined crack model…. „a… Whole view. „b… Magnified view.

modeled. The mesh consists of 26,500 eight-noded solid elements


for the case shown in Fig. 4. The general-purpose finite element
program ABAQUS, Version 6.3 关23兴 was used for FEM and FEAM
analyses.

Calculation Results
Stress Intensity Factor Along the Crack Front. Figures 5 and
6 show the SIF along the crack front of crack 1 for a tensile and
bending stress, respectively. The SIFs are normalized by the fol-
lowing equation:
KI
F共x兲 = 共1兲
␴0冑␲x
where KI denotes the SIF of mode I and x corresponds to a crack
size, which is a1 in these cases. The crack tip position is repre-
sented by p, as defined in Fig. 1. The SIF changes depending on
Fig. 2 Geometry of a plate for interacting cracks the distance S, and the magnitude of the variation is different at
the crack tip position. The SIF of the inner crack tip 共p = 0 deg兲
gets larger as the distance S decreases, while only a slight change
appeared at the outer crack tip 共p = 180 deg兲 and around the deep-
est point 共p = 90 deg兲. The change in the SIF was brought about by
the interaction between two cracks, and the interaction becomes
maximum in the case of S = 0. Although the geometrical profile of
the combined crack model is different from that of the separated
crack model, the distribution of the SIF of the combined crack
seems to be a continuation of the separated cracks. It was pointed
out that the SIF of interacting cracks is almost equivalent to that
of coalesced single cracks when the cracks are close to each other
关24,25兴. This implies that the change in the SIF is dependent on
the distance S rather than on the geometrical condition that the
cracks are coalesced or separated. The intensity of the interaction
is larger in the case of a1 / c1 = 0.8 than in a1 / c1 = 0.5, although the
results obtained under the tensile and bending stress conditions
exhibit a similar tendency.

Fig. 3 Finite element mesh for FEAM analyses „for the sepa- Influence of Relative Position. To evaluate the influence of the
rated crack model…. „a… Whole view. „b… Magnified view. „c… interaction on the SIF, which takes various values along the crack
Sight A. front, the averaged SIF, Fm, was defined as

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Fig. 5 Normalized SIFs along the crack front under tensile Fig. 6 Normalized SIFs along the crack front under bending
stress „a1 = a2…. „a… Tension „a1 / c1 = 0.5…. „b… Tension „a1 / c1 stress „a1 = a2…. „a… Bending „a1 / c1 = 0.5…. „b… Bending „a1 / c1
= 0.8…. = 0.8….

is normalized by Fm共c0兲共S=inf兲, which is Fm of an isolated crack.


Fm共x兲 =
1
T
冕 ⌫
F共x兲dw 共2兲
Normalized Fm共c0兲 decreases as the distance S increases and con-
verges to unity. Namely, there is no interaction when the two
cracks are sufficiently far apart. The case of a1 / c1 = 0.8 shows a
where dw is length of the part of the crack front and ⌫ denotes the
path along the crack front. Here, to exclude the influence of a
particular singularity, F共x兲 at the surface 共p = 0 – 5 deg and
175– 180 deg for the separated crack model and p
= 175– 180 deg for the combined crack model兲 is omitted in the
calculation. The range of the integral in Eq. 共2兲 is p
= 23.6– 175 deg for the combined crack model. T represents the
length of the path calculated by

T= 冕⌫
dw 共3兲

The crack size c0, which is calculated by the following equation,


is used for the parameter x:
c20 = a1c1 共4兲
Since the crack growth is dependent on the SIF, the growth length
at each point along the front is different. Therefore, even if the SIF
is large to a particular point, the growth rate of cracks, which has
a small averaged SIF, cannot be large in area size. Then, the in-
crease rate of the area size of the crack has much correlation with
the averaged SIF rather than with SIF at an individual point. The Fig. 7 Change in averaged SIFs Fm with distance between two
relationship between Fm共c0兲 and distance S is shown in Fig. 7. Fm cracks

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SIF of the coalesced cracks for a1 / c1 = 0.8 and a1 / c1 = 0.5 ob-
tained under a uniform tensile stress condition together with the
results of semielliptical surface cracks of various aspect ratios and
surface cracks of various front shapes. The SIFs are normalized
according to Eq. 共2兲 using the area size of the crack face, A0. The
length cs is defined by

cs = 冑 2A0

共5兲

where cs is equal to c0 for semielliptical cracks. The averaged SIF,


Fm共cs兲, is almost constant regardless of the front shape, including
the coalesced cracks; this implies that the magnitude of the SIF of
the surface cracks is dependent on the area size. The horizontal
axis indicates a crack front length normalized by ␲cs and repre-
sents the complexity of the front shape. The averaged SIF along
the crack front tends to decrease as the complexity of the front
increases, although the value remains almost constant.
The change in the averaged SIF due to coalescence of two
cracks can be estimated from the change in the area size. The
Fig. 8 Change in averaged SIFs Fm with relative size of two maximum interaction between multiple cracks can be estimated
cracks
by adding the area size of interacting cracks. A semielliptical
crack, which has the same area as the sum of interacting cracks,
larger interaction than the case of a1 / c1 = 0.5 when S is smaller gives a conservative averaged SIF because the interaction is maxi-
than S / a1 = 0.4, although the reverse is true when S is large. The mum when the distance S becomes zero, as shown in Fig. 7.
bending stress induces a slightly larger interaction than the tensile Intensity of Interaction. As shown in Figs. 5 and 6, the inten-
stress. The amount of increase in the SIF is 1.11 times that of the sity of the interaction is almost identical to that of a coalesced
no-interaction case at the maximum. crack when the cracks are close. The interacting cracks exhibit
Influence of Relative Size. Figure 8 shows the SIFs evaluated enhanced SIF regardless of whether they coalesce. On the other
for various a2 / a1 under a fixed relative position of S = 0.05a1. The hand, the averaged SIF of the coalesced cracks is almost the same
as that of semielliptical cracks of the same area size. Therefore,
relative crack size was changed from a2 / a1 = 0.3 to 1.0 under the
the SIF of the interacting cracks converges to the value of a single
same boundary length condition, which is defined using a1, as
crack having the same area as the sum of individual cracks. There-
shown in Fig. 2. Only the SIFs of the larger crack 共crack 1兲 are
fore, to represent the intensity of the interaction, a new parameter
shown in the figure and are normalized by Fm共c0兲共S=inf兲. The in-
Fm共1+2兲 is defined as
teraction decreases as a2 / a1 decreases, and the normalized SIF
converges to 1. This implies that the interaction is negligible when
the relative crack size a2 / a1 is small enough. Fm共1+2兲 =
1
冑2␲共T1 + T2兲 冉冕 ⌫1
F共冑A1 + A2兲dw

冕 冊
Discussion
Stress Intensity Factor of Coalesced Crack. In the previous + F共冑A1 + A2兲dw 共6兲
⌫2
study 关26兴, it was suggested that the averaged SIF of surface
cracks that have complex front shapes is almost the same when where Ai, ⌫i, and Ti denote the area size, path, and length of the
the area of the crack face is the same. Figure 9 shows the averaged crack front of crack i, respectively. Therefore, Fm共1+2兲 is identical
to Fm共cs兲 defined by Eq. 共2兲 if the two cracks coalesce. Figures 10
and 11 show the relationship between the distance S and Fm共1+2兲
normalized by Fm共cs兲 of coalesced cracks, which is evaluated us-
ing the combined model and is indicated as Fm共cs兲S=0, for tensile
and bending stresses, respectively. The normalized Fm共1+2兲 in-
creases to 1 as the distance S decreases. The change in Fm共1+2兲
under the condition of a2 / a1 = 0.5 is also shown in the figure,
although the values are normalized by Fm共cs兲S=0 evaluated under
the condition of a2 / a1 = 1. From these results, we can say that
although the magnitude of the interaction is dependent on the
distance between the cracks and is different at each crack tip
position, it can be represented by the scalar value Fm共1+2兲. The
maximum interaction is equivalent to the value of coalesced
cracks, the SIF of which can be evaluated based on the simple
addition of the area size, regardless of the loading condition, as-
pect ratio, and relative crack size.
Change in Area Size Due to Coalescence. In accordance with
the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section 关XI兴 关8兴, the
Fitness-for-Service Code of JSME 关9兴, the American Petroleum
Institute 共API兲 关27兴, and the British Standard 共BS兲 关28兴, for crack
growth evaluation, multiple discrete cracks are combined and
Fig. 9 Averaged SIFs of surface cracks having various crack treated as a single crack if the distance between two cracks satis-
front shapes fies the following criteria:

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Fig. 10 Change in averaged SIFs Fm„1+2… with distance between
Fig. 11 Change in averaged SIFs Fm„1+2… with distance between
two cracks „tensile stress…
two cracks „bending stress…

S=0 共ASME,JSME,BS兲 共7兲

S 艋 c1 + c2 共API兲 共8兲
The depth of the combined crack, ac, is the same as that of the
deeper crack, which is a1 in the case of Fig. 1. The surface length
2cc is the sum of the surface lengths of two cracks, and the dis-
tance S is cc = c1 + c2 + S / 2. Figure 12 shows the areas of the com-
bined single crack, which is denoted as Ac共=ccac / 2.0兲, against the
distance S normalized by c1 + c2. Ac is normalized by a simple sum
of the areas of two cracks, A共1+2兲共=c1a1 / 2.0+ c2a2 / 2.0兲. Based on
the previous discussion, replacement of the interacting cracks with
a semielliptical crack that has the same area of the coalesced
cracks leads to a conservative result in an amount of crack growth.
From the mechanical point of view, the current rule provides a
conservative evaluation since the value of Ac is larger than A共1+2兲
in all cases, especially for the case of different crack sizes. Gains
in area size obtained by the combination rule of the API code are
Ac / A共1+2兲 = 1.5 and 1.8 in the cases of a2 / a1 = 1 and a2 / a1 = 0.5,
respectively. On the other hand, there is no gain in area size in the
case of similar crack sizes according to the codes of ASME,
JSME, and BS. As shown in previous figures, the interaction ex-
ists in the condition of S ⬎ 0. To take into account the acceleration
in crack growth due to the interaction before the coalescence of
neighboring cracks, some margin should be included. Namely, the Fig. 12 Relationship between area of combined crack and dis-
current criterion for ASME, JSME, and BS might bring unconser- tance between the cracks „a1 / c1 = a2 / c2 = 0.8…

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cs ⫽ equivalent crack size
Fm ⫽ normalized averaged SIF
Fm共1+2兲 ⫽ normalized averaged SIF for combined cracks
KI ⫽ SIF of mode I
p ⫽ crack tip position
S ⫽ distance between two cracks
T ⫽ length of path along the crack front
t ⫽ thickness of the plate
W ⫽ half-width of the plate
␴0 ⫽ magnitude of applied tensile and bending
stresses

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