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Title: Influence of material and constraint variation on the fracture toughness behaviour of steels
Author: Kulka, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 8239
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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The analysis of fracture toughness test data from standard specimens is often based upon the assumptions of planar crack fronts and homogenous material properties. However, these assumptions do not hold true for all test geometries or real components. The overall objective of this EngD was therefore to develop the methodologies used in fracture assessment of steel components, by incorporating a reduction in the conservatisms inherent in the assessment procedures. These conservatisms are associated with applying a ‘lower bound’ treatment to steel components, which in reality contain significant variability in effective fracture toughness, due to either material considerations (macroscopic or microstructural), or geometrical considerations including the effect of crack tip constraint.The first method developed allows a comparison of a variation of fracture toughness values throughout a component, to a variation of the localised effective crack driving force. The main feature of this method takes advantage of the nature of the ductile-to-brittle transition regime of fracture toughness, where there is significant scatter. This leads to a probabilistic prediction of the location of fracture initiation, and a less conservative estimate of failure load, used to derive enhanced fracture toughness for the component. The second method calculates less conservative fracture toughness values for steels where there is significant heterogeneity in the dataset. The effects of measurement uncertainty on derived fracture toughness values can be monitored to improve probabilistic estimates of the heterogeneous fracture toughness values. These methods have been developed into predictive software tools, validated against data from the literature.Finite element analysis of various configurations of compact tension and bend specimen, under different constraint conditions, was used to identify fracture mechanics parameters and constraint factors that will be of use in deriving accurate fracture toughness relationships from future testing programmes. The viability of low constraint specimens for accurately characterising increases in fracture toughness has been assessed. These recommendations enhance the relationships and advice suggested in the testing standards and literature. Loss of constraint in thin components can be quantified by a triaxiality parameter, which can be used to predict an increase in fracture toughness through use of a damage model, in this case developed based on a ductility exhaustion approach. This model can be used to predict initiation of ductile fracture in configurations with low constraint, leading to less conservative fracture toughness values, enhancing the guidance in the various defect tolerance assessment procedures.
Supervisor: Sherry, Andrew Sponsor: Frazer-Nash Consultancy
Qualification Name: Thesis (Eng.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Constraint ; Fracture ; Toughness ; Steel