The practical use of fracture mechanics has been established for use on large turbine and electric generator rotor components used in the atomic power generation and the aircraft industry. Application areas in the offshore industry have also been identified. Fracture mechanics is currently used at the design stage of offshore facilities. It provides the basis for fatigue life prediction, steel selection and tolerance setting on allowable weld imperfections. Fracture mechanics is also used during the operational stage of a structure to make important decisions on inspection scheduling and repair strategies and as a tool for establishing limits on operational conditions. Linear elastic fracture mechanics relies on the use of the stress intensity factor concept. The stress intensity factor is a very important fracture mechanics parameters. Therefore, the accuracy of any fracture mechanics model for the prediction of fatigue crack growth in offshore structures for example will depend very much on the accuracy of the stress intensity factor solution used. Several empirical and semi-empirical solutions have been developed over the years with varying degrees of accuracy. This paper presents a review of some of these methods and attempts to assess their accuracy in predicting Y factors for welded tubular joints by comparing predicted results with experimental data obtained from fatigue tests conducted on large scale welded tubular joints. The experimental results were conducted under simulated service conditions, using a jack-up offshore standard load history (JOSH). A comparison between the experimental and predicted results shows that there may be other factors, which influence fatigue crack growth under variable amplitude conditions. Some of these factors have been identified and discussed in this paper.
- jack-up offshore standard load history (JOSH)
- fracture mechanics
- stress intensity factor
- fatigue crack growth
- welded tubular joints