BS 7910: History and future developments

Isabel Hadley Paper presented at 2009 ASME Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference, Sustainable Energy for the Third Millennium, Prague, Czech Republic, 26-30 July 2009.

BS 7910, the UK procedure for the assessment of flaws in metallic structures, was first published almost 30 years ago in the form of a fracture/fatigue assessment procedure, PD6493. It provided the basis for analysing fabrication flaws and the need for repair in a rational fashion, rather than relying on long-established (and essentially arbitrary) workmanship rules. The UK offshore industry in particular embraced this new approach to flaw assessment, which is now widely recognised by safety authorities and specifically referred to in certain design codes, including codes for pressure equipment. Since its first publication in 1980, PD6493/BS 7910 has been regularly maintained and expanded, taking in elements of other publications such as the UK power industry's fracture assessment procedure R6 (in particular the Failure Assessment Diagram approach), the creep assessment procedure PD6539 and the gas transmission industry's approach to assessment of locally thinned areas in pipelines. The FITNET European thematic network, run between 2002 and 2006, has further advanced the state of the art, bringing in assessment methods from SINTAP (an earlier European research project), R6, R5 and elsewhere. In particular, the FITNET fracture assessment methods represent considerable advances over the current BS 7910 methods; for example, weld strength mismatch can be explicitly analysed by using FITNET Option 2, and crack tip constraint through Option 5. Corrosion assessment methods in FITNET are also more versatile than those of BS 7910, and now include methods for vessels and elbows as well as for pipelines. In view of these recent advances, the BS 7910 committee has decided to incorporate many elements of the FITNET procedure into the next edition of BS 7910, to be published c2012. This paper summarises the history of the development of BS 7910, its relationship with other flaw assessment procedures (in particular FITNET and R6) and its future.

List of abbreviations
ECA: LTA: Engineering critical assessment, usually used to denote a fitness-for-service analysis of a cracked body Locally thinned area

initially in the form of simple boilers.RS: FFS/FFP: LBB: CTOD: FAD: LEFM: Residual stress Fitness-for-service/fitness-for-purpose. the annual number of explosions fell over the remainder of the century.[1] the design and construction of boilers was left to the individual designer or manufacturer. As reported by Woods and Baguley. Data from across the industrialised world ([2-7]) show the current 'catastrophic' failure rate of pressure vessels to be approx. The correct application of an appropriate code for design. Fig. This is achieved through a combination of factors: . The dramatic effects of the code can be inferred from Fig. failures and fatalities were common. construction. ie an analysis based on integrity rather than code compliance Leak before break Crack tip opening displacement Failure analysis diagram Linear elastic fracture mechanics Introduction Pressure equipment. inspection and maintenance of pressure equipment can therefore be expected to produce equipment with a very low failure rate.1. which is not considered in the statistics).1. has been used since the early days of the industrial revolution. operation. 10-5 to 10-6 per vessel year. peaking at the rate of around one per day. the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) issued its first code for power boilers. Rates of boiler explosions in the USA [1] In the early years of the 20th Century.1. as shown in Fig. in spite of a rise in mean steam pressure (and a rise in the total population of boilers. although the precise figure varies somewhat between countries and depends on the type of equipment under consideration.

These principles are. API/ASME and FITNET. if the precautions mentioned earlier (inspection and control of materials qualities) have for some reason proved insufficient. Control of the presence of flaws. . been extremely effective in bringing failure of pressure equipment under control. rather than relying on code compliance. implemented in pressure vessel codes. by: qualification of both the weld procedure and the welders responsible for applying it. In-service damage (for example fatigue cracking. putting the vessel outside the code standards. and of the stress concentrations associated with changes of section. The FFS approach is based on a fracture mechanics assessment of the flawed component and requires the user to show that the flaw(s) will not lead to failure during the required lifetime of the component. Control of the quality of materials. This test. given the service conditions. is highly effective in weeding out potentially dangerous flaws or non-conforming material under conditions of relative safety. Application of a pre-service pressure test in order to demonstrate the integrity of the equipment.[10] is described below and summarised in Fig. These are not acceptable to the code. In order to ensure that such analyses are conducted in accordance with recognised methods that enable independent verification to be carried out. and the code will give guidance on what is considered acceptable). Manufacturing faults (for example weld flaws or deviations from intended design) are found before the vessel enters service. or the thickness may lie beyond the values considered by the code. including the European pressure vessel code[8] and the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code. examples of which include:    The design conditions lie outside those envisaged by the code. for example the next scheduled shut-down. BS 7910.2. In practice this usually means the use of Charpy testing in order to demonstrate some degree of resistance to low-temperature failure. there are cases where pressure (and other) equipment does not meet the requirements of the code. tensile properties and (if the equipment will experience low-temperature operation) toughness. inspection (visual and non-destructive) of the finished product to ensure that it complies with the code (some 'indications' such as porosity or inclusions are inevitably associated with fusion welds. but perhaps repair would be logistically difficult and liable to introduce new flaws. especially at welds. the FFS approach is codified in several documents.  o o   Control of the operating stresses. of course. History of BS 7910 The history of the current UK flaw assessment procedure. R6. Nevertheless the operator wishes to keep it in service until a convenient time. of course. openings and other discontinuities. These are all cases in which it would be appropriate to use a fitness-for-service (FFS) approach to assess the condition of the vessel. in terms of their chemical composition. for example the material may not be covered by the code. including BS 7910 (the subject of this paper). especially if the vessel is constructed from a steel that undergoes a ductile-brittle transition as temperature is reduced. typically carried out using water as a test medium.[9] Although design codes have. corrosion or creep damage) has occurred.

Through-thickness. Simple graphical methods were used to calculate KI as a function of flaw size and shape. Failure of the uncracked ligament by plastic collapse was considered separately. pressure vessels. PD6493:1980 was published at a time when the UK offshore oil and gas industry was enjoying a boom. catastrophic failures of offshore structures such as the Sea Gem and the Alexander Kielland had underlined the importance of controlling the quality of materials and fabrication techniques. For the case of components subjected to stresses below the materials yield strength. the fracture assessment method used linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) to calculate the driving force. an inevitable product of welding. the ratio of the crack driving force to the characteristic fracture toughness) reduces as the net section stress or reference stress (normalised to the yield strength of .Fig. partly empirically based. or definitive. component width and thickness. designated R6. and introduced the concept of a Failure Analysis Diagram (FAD) to show the interaction between the two. process piping and pipelines had reached unprecedented levels.[11] This was a relationship between applied strain ratio and critical flaw size. Fatigue assessment to PD6493:1980 used the Paris law. and applied and residual stresses. Fatigue crack growth constants for air and marine environments were given in the document. PD6493 proved invaluable in helping engineers to distinguish between 'critical' flaws that could lead to failure and 'benign' flaws that were. Unlike PD6493. the so-called CTOD design curve was used. it did not lay claim to be the only. History of the development of BS 7910 The first procedure to be published by BSI (British Standards Institution) was PD6493:1980. approach. PD6493 addressed two modes of failure: brittle fracture and fatigue. for brittle fracture.[12] This was first issued in 1976. along with graphically-based solutions. but a guidance document. but the only geometry explicitly considered was the flat plate. The construction of offshore jackets. the UK nuclear industry had developed its own flaw assessment technique. The 'PD' (for 'published document') designation reflected the fact that the document was not intended to be a standard. with the aim of ensuring that safety cases concerning power plant should be carried out in a reproducible and consistent fashion.2. Meanwhile. For components subjected to stresses above yield (ie when the sum of the 'primary' stresses from external loading and the 'secondary' stresses such as welding residual stress exceeded the yield strength of the material). to a large extent. KI. with the FAD showing how the permitted level of driving force (designated Kr. Moreover. At the same time. the R6 method considered the possibility of failure of structures from both brittle fracture and plastic collapse. This allowed the user to apply LEFM concepts to calculate KI. surface-breaking and embedded flaws were addressed. and the combination of new construction methods and materials with very short 'windows' of weather in which installation could be carried out provided a strong incentive to expedite construction and installation. essential in this era before the widespread use of personal computers.

round bars. Users were given the option of using one of three different FADs. This hierarchical approach to fracture assessment has persisted ever since.the material). For simplified calculations. In 1999. ie one showing Lüder's plateau behaviour. Level 2 calculations. 2005). An expanded library of K-solutions and reference stress solutions was added. Example of R6 (and FITNET) FADS for a continuously-yielding and discontinuously-yielding material Although the PD6493 and R6 methods had been developed in parallel. published in 2007 (BSI. spheres complex welded joints Residual stress distributions were presented for various common welding processes and geometries Load history effects. whilst Level 3 calculations. Since then. and addressed the needs of different industry sectors. used for assessment of ductile tearing. Fig. a few of which are noted below: The document was upgraded to become a British Standards Guide. it became clear that the underlying technology was virtually identical and the FAD approach to fracture assessment was adopted in the second (1991) edition of PD6493. used a FAD similar to the R6 FAD. The current version of the procedure includes Amendment 1. cylinders. allowing analysis of plates. based on a major project carried out by British Gas. were incorporated into the document. increases. in particular the role of warm prestressing and prior overload in integrity. more radical changes took place. depending largely on the materials data available to them. the FAD-based equivalent of PD6493:1980 was adopted. although the second (2005) edition provided the committee with the opportunity to act on user feedback by correcting and clarifying selected parts of the procedure.      Creep assessment methods. FITNET . were included in the document.3. employed a strip yield model of the relationship between plasticity and crack driving force. This so-called 'level 1' calculation included an inherent safety factor and assumed no interaction between plasticity and crack driving force. originally published in PD6539. An example of the approach is shown in Fig. which shows the simplest ('Option 1') R6 FADs for a continuously-yielding material and a discontinuously-yielding material. Corrosion assessment methods for pipelines were proposed.3. BS 7910. used for more critical applications. the technical content of BS 7910 has remained stable.

Conference proceedings are also available. such as Charpy impact results and specified values of tensile properties. presentation of a series of teaching seminars and staging a final international conference. On the one hand. R6 and API 579-1/ASME FFS-1[16]. in Germany. A comparison between FITNET Options and the current BS 7910 fracture assessment levels is also shown. and a stand-alone volume covering worked examples. GKSS. they may have very simple information available. oil and gas. although the FAD approach is perhaps more well-established through its use in other current fracture procedures such as BS 7910. fatigue. A list of Options is shown in Table 1 along with the corresponding materials data requirements. The fracture module of FITNET allows users to assess the integrity of metallic structures at several different levels (known as Options). plus some self-funded contributions from Japan. BS 7910. automotive. This can be done using either a Crack Driving Force (CDF) curve or a Failure Analysis Diagram (FAD). and is in line with current recommendations of BS 7910 Annex J. depending on the complexity of the materials property data available to them. along with fracture toughness data for the weldment. if detailed stress-strain data for both parent metal and weld metal are available. This option applies only to ferritic steels. To this end. the network comprised representatives of European industry (power. The aim of FITNET was to produce a procedure covering all major failure/damage modes (fracture. Under these circumstances. creep and corrosion) that would be used by a range of industry sectors. R6 and the GKSS ETM (Engineering Treatment Method) procedure. it may be possible to use higher options. a very simple approach based on empirical correlations between Charpy energy and fracture toughness may be adopted. tutorials and the validation of the procedure is under preparation. known as Option 0. whilst the load on the uncracked ligament (the reference stress) is compared with the limit load for the cracked body. The fracture module The fracture analysis module of FITNET draws on a number of existing sources. eg Option 3. Details of the individual modules are given below. including SINTAP[14].[15] The basic concept is that the driving force for the cracked body under load (KI) is compared with the materials fracture toughness (Kmat). Korea and the USA. The two approaches are equivalent. The FITNET procedure[13] has been published in two volumes (the procedure itself in Vol I and the supporting annexes in Vol II) and is available from the consortium organiser. A second aim of the network was to promulgate the use of FFS methods throughout Europe. materials) research institutes and universities. through preparation of appropriate teaching material.The year 2002 saw the launch of a major European thematic network known as FITNET (fitness-forservice network). Table 1 Comparison of current BS 7910 fracture assessment levels with FITNET fracture assessment Options Description Charpy/fracture toughness correlations Simple screening method BS 7910: 2005 Annex J Level 1 FITNET Option 0 No equivalent . On the other hand. with the aim of producing a European consensus document on fitness-for-service.

based on tensile properties only Option 2 Mismatch analysis. single-point value of fracture toughness Generic FAD. 4 and 5).4. or to use a 'constraint-corrected' FAD together with conventional high-constraint fracture mechanics test data. it should be noted that Figure 4 presents the results of the Option 4 analysis in the form of FADs. with the 'safe' area expanding. 3. single-point analysis Option 1.Generic FAD. Note that Option 5 allows the user either to use a 'conventional' (eg Option 3) FAD in conjunction with low-constraint fracture mechanics tests. so the FADs change. the FAD-based and CDFbased methods are. one loaded uniaxially and the other biaxially These were tested at a temperature of -100°C and failed by brittle fracture. in order to facilitate the comparison of the different Options in a single diagram. in fact. so that the analysis points associated with the failure of the specimens are the same regardless of the Option selected. tearing analysis Option 3. fracture toughness expressed as tearing resistance curve Level 2b Level 3a Material-specific FAD. as noted earlier in this paper. The latter option was chosen in this case. As the tests are analysed using progressively more advanced techniques (Options 1. equivalent. fracture toughness expressed as Level 3b tearing resistance curve FEA-based analysis (can include mismatch effects) Level 3c Not considered Not considered Not considered Mismatch analysis. . reflecting a progressively more precise analysis. tearing analysis Option 4 Material-specific FAD. This shows the analysis of two centre-cracked wide plate test specimens. single-point value of fracture toughness Level 2a Option 1. Moreover. In practice. single-point analysis Option 3. The assessment points associated with the fracture are shown (squares labelled '#40' and '#41' and both points lie outside all of the FADs considered. based on full stress-strain curves Option 3m Constraint-based analysis Option 5 An example of analysis of the same test data using various FITNET Options is given in Fig. confirming the ability of all of the Options to predict failure. the FITNET document presents Option 4 in terms of Crack Driving Force (CDF) only. whilst the FADs change according to the Option used.

and summarised in Fig. The first three are essentially fatigue damage assessment approaches.4. which assume that there is no pre-existing flaw in the structure. Example of the use of FITNET FADs to analyse wide plate test results The fatigue module The fatigue module (Section 7 of FITNET) comprises five different approaches to fatigue analysis. . termed Routes 1-5. A brief summary of each of the Routes is given below. whilst Routes 4 and 5 are based on the assumption that a flaw exists.5.Fig.

Route 5 therefore gives an empirically-based alternative. Stresses in the relevant area are calculated. be analysed using Route 4 and treating them as planar. eg by FEA. Route 5 addresses non-planar flaws in welded joints. and addresses crack initiation only (subsequent crack growth could be modelled using Route 4 . which can grow on a cycle-by-cycle basis as described by the Paris law. of course. Route 4 is based on the assumption of a planar flaw. for example. slag inclusions and porosity in steel and aluminium butt welds. but this treatment is likely to be highly conservative. using S-N curves. the fatigue crack growth constant and the effects of stress ratio are given in the procedure for a range of materials and environments. Route 2. Route 4 is very similar to the fatigue crack growth approach used in BS 7910. the structural stress or notch stress method. Its fatigue life is then estimated from statistical data on geometrically similar joints. flaw type and material.see below). As such. and is currently restricted to undercut. and the appropriate S-N curve (see Route 1) is then followed. the maximum flaw size is tabulated as a function of required fatigue class. Route 3 (local stress-strain approach) is applicable mainly to non-welded components. Summary of the five FITNET fatigue assessment Routes Route 1 is also known as the nominal stress method and is compatible with other stress-based approaches such as the IIW rules[17] and BS 7608. . Non-planar flaws can. A relationship between cyclic strain range and the number of cycles to initiation is derived using.[18] The welded joint is assigned to a particular weld class based on its geometry and the direction of loading.Fig. recognises that fatigue can be associated with very small hot-spot areas of the component.5. the Coffin-Manson law.

environment and microstructural susceptibility. the BS 7910 committee decided to adopt many of the features of FITNET into its next edition. The corrosion module Section 9 of the FITNET procedure addresses two main types of analysis:   Crack propagation by Environmentally Assisted Cracking (EAC).[19] The procedure is presented in the form of 13 steps. if known. to be published around 2012. not crack-like. some of which are covered by other sections of FITNET.The creep module The creep module (Section 8 of FITNET) provides methods for calculating creep crack growth and creep-fatigue interaction. The future of BS 7910 Shortly after the publication of FITNET. In that context. it is necessary to consider whether sub-critical crack growth is a potential factor. for some systems. When assessing the integrity of structures with cracks or crack-like defects. It draws in particular on the R5 high temperature assessment procedure. although it should be emphasised that this interaction occurs at a highly localised level and it is the local characteristics of these variables rather than the nominal bulk values that are critical. should be taken into account in the assessment. and that the stresses in the thinned area of the component should not exceed the yield strength of the material under design pressure. as covered by the current version of BS 7910. with crack growth rate prediction in service based principally on the application of fracture mechanics in terms of either stress intensity factor (K) in the case of stress corrosion cracking. Analysis of LTAs in FITNET goes beyond the analysis of corrosion in straight pipes. These exclusions are intended to ensure that the damage is truly LTA. no cyclic loading and no flaws with depth greater than 80% of the original wall thickness. cylinders. an estimate of the amount of tolerable growth during the design lifetime or between in-service inspections is required. Various conditions exclude the use of the LTA approach . The safe working pressure of the equipment may need to be reduced in order to retain a safety factor similar to that for the undamaged equipment. pressure vessel heads (hemispherical. The principles of the method are that the corrosion-damaged vessel or pipework should be capable of undergoing a hydrotest without failure. Methods of analysis for LTAs in spheres. torispherical and elliptical) and integrally reinforced nozzles are included. in which the most likely failure mechanism is plastic collapse Analysis of EAC follows the same general principles as those for other types of growing flaw. The conditions in which EAC occurs involves a combination of stress. developed by the UK nuclear industry. a significant amount of life may occur in the short crack regime that.for example. Underlying that assumption is the presumption that the flaws or cracks are of a dimension that allows a description of the mechanical driving force by linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM). If so. or the range of stress intensity factor (ΔK). eg fatigue and creep crack growth. no mechanical damage combined with corrosion. elbows. The corrosion module considers subcritical crack growth due to stress corrosion cracking (predominantly static load or slowly rising load) and corrosion fatigue (predominantly cyclic load). including Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) and Corrosion Fatigue (CF) Analysis of Locally Thinned Areas (LTAs). there must be no crack-like flaws. This process requires national scrutiny of . in corrosion fatigue. In practice. and that the extent of damage lies within the envelope for which experimental validation exists. structural integrity assessment has to take into account the distinct characteristics of the damage processes associated with EAC.

the document. Fatigue: Routes 4 and 5 of FITNET. The detailed technical drafting is further delegated to a series of 'panels' (sub-committees). or operation (due to buckling or seismic effects) or both. residual stress and materials properties. where plastic strains may be induced during installation (where reeling is used as an installation method). Management of BS 7910 The BS 7910 document is owned and distributed by BSI. fatigue. This will be the first time that advice on NDE is included in BS 7910 . The committee maintains informal contact with the developers of other procedures. the UK flaw assessment code BS 7910 has undergone a number of changes. and to prepare an NDE annex for the next edition of BS 7910. academia and end users. corrosion. will not be included. The current plans for the major failure modes are: Fracture: the 'levels' of assessment described by the current BS 7910 will be replaced by 'Options' that match the hierarchy of FITNET as far as possible. since they already exist in a separate document. Creep: the creep clauses given in Section 8 of FITNET will be adapted and incorporated into the new edition of BS 7910. as the widespread use of computers makes the use of more complex equations (eg for K-solutions and residual stress) practicable. typically nominated by a trade association. covering particular topics such as fracture. This comprises volunteers from groups representing manufacturers. certification. This is a particularly important issue in the pipeline industry. The methods have become increasing complex. and now covers all the main fracture/damage modes (fracture. with technical input provided by a Technical Committee. which address crack propagation from planar and non-planar flaws respectively. will be included in the new edition of BS 7910. such as are outlined in Route 1 of FITNET. . In addition. a new sub-committee has been formed to scrutinise the advice on NDE contained in Annex D of FITNET. characterise and size the different types of flaw that may need to be considered in an ECA. Concluding remarks Since its first publication in 1980 as PD6493. Corrosion: the FITNET corrosion and EAC assessment methods will be incorporated into BS 7910.the main emphasis will be on considering the capability of different NDE techniques to detect. the most significant of which are summarised below:    The CTOD-based approach to determination of crack tip driving force and materials toughness (championed by the offshore industry) has been integrated with the J-based approach preferred by the nuclear industry. health and safety bodies. corrosion and creep). The scope of the document has steadily increased. A new sub-committee will also be needed in due course to address the important issue of strain-based analysis of structures containing flaws. in line with the current approach of the 2005 edition. after appropriate scrutiny and editing. eg R6. This will have the added benefit of making the terminology of BS 7910 more compatible with that of R6. namely BS 7608. Fatigue design rules. together with additional information where appropriate. and re-drafting to retain the style and terminology of BS 7910. FITNET and API/ASME. WEE/37. fatigue. creep.

Revision 4. Harrop. 'Guide to methods for assessing the acceptability of flaws in metallic structures'. 13. published in 2007). J M. 2003. as a result of the FITNET project and other recent initiatives. Geesthacht. 7. Abington Publishing. that can be adopted by a range of industry sectors. 16. C. Hobbacher. Cambridge. 9. BSI. 1974. 10-12 June. S. 1983 'The integrity of pressure vessels'. 18. 2007. ed Sundarajan. Koers. London.Now. S H. 'Estimation of cold failure frequency of LPG tanks in Europe'. L P. N. both printed by GKSS Research Center. BS 7608: 1993: Code of practice for fatigue design and assessment of steel structures. Tkach. 423-457. and Ron. 19. 'Pressure vessel and piping Technology 1985. London. 1983.The ETM method for assessing the significance of cracklike defects in engineering structures'. UK. Reliability '91. B. J R (ed). 8. M. 1985. Koçak. 387-399. and Tolchard. 'Pressure vessel failure statistics and probabilities'. T A. 'Statistics of pressure vessel and piping failures'.html 15. Volume 3: ASME B31. BS 7910:2005 (incorporating Amendment 1.Procedure (Volume 1) ISBN 978-3-940923-00-4. comprising versions ETM 97/1 and ETM 97/2. Woods. 5. Smith. F M and Dawes. 3. Janosch. E. it is being enlarged once again. W. Glynn. Taylor. 2005. S. 4. Baguley. IIW. SINTAP: www. T J. A. Bush. R6: Assessment of the Integrity of Structures containing Defects. Webster. Szavai. New York. Nuclear Safety. 10. pub CASTI. and Warwick. Hong Kong. Paper C5/71. 14. issue 3. 'Survey of defects in pressure vessels in the UK for the period 1962-1978 and its relevance to nuclear primary circuits'. GKSS report 98/E/6. R G. Engel. Ainsworth. 11. 15(4). 1996. 1991 'A further study of pressure vessel failures in the UK'. Hadley. 1993.. Y. 127-166.3 process piping. J J. Also published in ASME Journal of pressure vesseltechnology. 68. Davenport.11. M. Burdekin. FITNET Fitness-for-Service (FFS) . 'Fitness-for-service'. 6. Proceedings of conference 'Risk and Safety Management in the Gas Industry.eurofitnet. 2008. to represent a European consensus on structural integrity assessment. API: 579-1/ASME FFS-1 2007. R A. International Conference on Reliability Techniques and their application. October. 'EFAM ETM 97 . R and FITNET Fitness-for-Service (FFS) Annex (Volume 2) ISBN978-3-940923-01-1. Abington. 2002. 1996: 'Practical guide book series'. R5: Assessment procedure for the high temperature response of structures. ASME. References 1. I Mech E conference on Practical Application ofFracture Mechanics to Pressure Vessel Technology. ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code. 225-233. a decade of progress'. Science Progress. International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping. May 1971. I. 17. 110. Koçak. 'Fatigue design of welded joints and components'. M G: 'Practical use of yielding and linear elastic fracture mechanics with particular reference to pressure vessels'. 1988. . 2. Schwalbe. K-H et al. Sooby. European Standard for Unfired Pressure Vessels EN 13445.R.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful