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B. Pyttel1 I. Varfolomeyev2 M. Luke2 C. Berger1 D. Siegele2

1 IfW-MPA TU Darmstadt
2 Fraunhofer IWM


The German guideline Fracture Mechanics Proof of Strength for Engineering Components has been released in
2001 as a result of activities sponsored by the Research Committee on Mechanical Engineering (FKM), task group
Component Strength. The guideline describes basics for the integrity assessment of cracked components sub-
jected to static or cyclic loading and provides a step-by-step computational procedure for the use in engineering prac-
tice. The guideline was formulated based on a number of national and international reference documents, in partic-
ular SINTAP, R6, BS 7910 and DVS-2401, recent research results and some own key aspects. Since 2004 it is also
available in English. The procedures and solutions of the guideline are implemented in the computer program
FracSafe. The latest 3rd edition of the guideline (2005) includes several new topics. These allow for the considera-
tion of special effects at cyclic loading, mixed mode loading, dynamic (impact) loading, stress corrosion cracking,
probabilistic aspects in fracture mechanics calculations. In addition, the compendium of the stress intensity factor
and limit load solutions is extended and adjusted according to the state-of-the-art. Some new examples and case
studies are included to demonstrate the application of the procedure to engineering problems. This paper gives an
overview of the guideline and describes new features available since its 1st edition.

IIW-Thesaurus keywords: Corrosion; Evaluation; Failure; Fracture mechanics; Loading; Recommendations;

Reference lists; Rules; Stress corrosion.

1 OVERVIEW by the German Federation of Industrial Research

Associations Otto von Guericke (AiF).
The FKM guidelines Both documents describe the assessment of compo-
Analytical strength assessment [1], and nents subjected to static and cyclic loading, the first one
Fracture mechanics proof of strength for engineering without considering defects using the conventional meth-
components [2] ods of strength of materials, and the second one with
were developed in the working group Component considering defects using fracture mechanics methods.
Strength of the Research Committee on Mechanical Both guidelines complement each other, and in addition
Engineering (FKM, Germany) supported and sponsored software is available for each guideline. For the fracture
mechanics guideline presented here, the PC software
FracSafe [3] has been developed, which can be used in
German and English. The guidelines are applicable for
Doc. IIW-1807-07 (ex-doc. X-1600-06) recommended components made of steel, cast iron and light metal
for publication by Commission X Structural perfor- alloys at temperatures below creep temperature, and
mances of welded joints Fracture avoidance. for welded structures.
Welding in the World, Vol. 51, n 5/6, 2007

The FKM guideline Fracture mechanics proof of with the guideline for solving his problems, but he has
strength for engineering components was formulated to be aware that in most cases finding a solution takes
based on a number of national and international refer- time and money. The results from the new included top-
ence documents, in particular SINTAP [4], R6 [5], ics have to be analysed more critically than the results
BS 7910 [6] and DVS-2401 [7], The 1st and 2nd edition based on failure assessment procedures and practical
of the guideline included the assessment of components: applications of many years, which are the basis of the
at static loading with respect to crack initiation, sta- 1st and 2nd editions.
ble crack growth, crack instability or plastic collapse
The structure of the guideline is shown in Figure 1. In
using the failure assessment diagram (FAD) and
Chapter 1 the basics of fracture mechanics and rele-
at cyclic loading with respect to fatigue limit and
vant assessment concepts are introduced. Then the
fatigue crack growth using linear elastic fracture mechan-
input parameters for the procedure, such as defect state,
ics (LEFM).
loading and material state, are described in Chapter 2.
The 3rd edition contains several essential extensions and In Chapter 3 the quantitative implementation of the input
supplements aiming at considering special effects at leads to a structural model with a crack, for which frac-
cyclic loading, mixed mode loading, dynamic loading, ture mechanics loading parameters can be calculated.
stress corrosion cracking and probabilistic aspects in Relevant material parameters have to be chosen to
fracture mechanics calculations. Note that most of the describe the failure mode. Calculations performed
included new topics are hardly considered in national according to Chapter 4 yield safety factors or a failure
or international standards and that they are often still probability, respectively, and conclude on the safety of
under research. The user has to be given assistance the cracked component, Chapter 5.

Figure 1 Structure of the FKM guideline Fracture Mechanics Proof of Strength for Engineering Components


In the previous editions, calculations at cyclic loading

are based on LEFM using the stress intensity factor
range K. Crack propagation above threshold value Kth
can be described using an appropriate fatigue crack
growth relationship, e.g. after Paris-Erdogan [8] or NAS-
GROW [9]. The new edition includes a qualitative com-
parison of several load interaction models at variable
amplitude loading.
The calculation of crack propagation is now also possi-
ble on the basis of elastic-plastic fracture mechanics
(EPFM) using the cyclic J-Integral J and the effective
cyclic J-Integral Jeff, respectively. The procedure fol-
lows the work of Vormwald [10, 11] and Dankert [12,
13]. The cyclic J-Integral is calculated from local, elas-
tic-plastic stress-strain parameters, as shown in Figure 2.
In this approach load interaction effects are described Figure 2 Definition of local stress-strain
automatically using load history dependent crack clo- parameters
sure stresses cl and strains cl.
The concept can also be used for short cracks and com-
ponents without defects. For the latter, a fictitious initial Mode I - opening,
crack has to be defined. Crack growth propagation is Mode II - in-plane shear,
then calculated using a cyclic J-Integral J, e.g. after
Mode III - out-of-plane shear.
= CJ (J )mJ (1) Mixed-mode loading results when due to component
geometry, loading and the local crack tip orientation the
with constants CJ and mJ. However, in most practical crack displacement modes I, II and/or III occur simul-
applications the stress intensity factor range K is used. taneously. The assessment procedure is based on
Separation of LEFM and EPFM regions can be done with LEFM and only proportional loading is considered. The
the help of a modified Kitagawa diagram, Figure 3. The singular parts of the stress-strain fields at the crack tip
use of J is therefore limited to components under high are described by the stress intensity factors KI, KII
local stresses as they occur at notches or at small cracks. and KIII. Selected solutions for stress intensity factors
are available in the annex part of the guideline. The
development of a simple calculable crack model from
3 CONSIDERATION the defect state and the structural model from the load-
OF MIXED MODE LOADING ing state has to account for all stress components in the
crack plane. Rotating or projecting the defect in a ref-
According to the mode of loading and the resulted dis- erence plane, as it is done in the previous editions
placement components at the crack tip the following where only mode I problems are considered, is not
modes, Figure 4, are distinguished: allowed.

Figure 3 Modified Kitagawas diagram for stress ratio R = 1


Mode I - opening Mode II - in-plane shear Mode III - out-of-plane shear

Figure 4 Crack displacement modes I, II, III

The assessment is then performed using an equivalent rates are typically within the range of 1 m/s to 100 m/s
stress intensity factor KV, see e.g. [15]. A summary of and the related times to failure are milliseconds or even
the procedure is shown in Table 1. microseconds. The safety assessment of dynamically
An application of the procedure in the EPFM region is loaded components can be performed based on the pro-
not validated. The use of the FAD approach at static cedures for static loading. However, it requires taking
loading, originally developed for mode I conditions, is into account time-dependent and local loading and mate-
possible for mixed-mode problems, but is also not vali- rial parameters.
dated. Cracked components can be described by geometrically
Crack propagation at proportional cyclic loading can be simple structural models as in the static case. The stress
calculated based on the criteria of local symmetry intensity factor K is used as loading parameter.
(KII = 0, KIII = 0) for instance using Paris-Erdogan equa- However, elastic wave propagation through the compo-
tion [8] nent due to impact loading has to be considered lead-
ing to time-dependent stress-strain fields at the crack
= C (KI )m
(2) tip characterized by the parameter K I (t ). This is gen-
dN erally evaluated by numeric methods. Depending on the
This can produce curved crack paths. The analysis of component geometry and the crack location with respect
such problems requires a numerical simulation of a to the applied force, especially at the beginning of the
mode I crack geometry, which fits the loading and geom- loading process, higher stresses and strains than those
etry of the component. For plane problems suitable soft- calculated at quasi-static loading KI (t ) can temporar-
ware has been developed and is available, for ily occur. This is due to focussing effects and the onset
instance [18]. For three dimensional crack growth and development of oscillations of the activated elastic
simulation application-oriented results exist, for waves and can be taken into account by a geometry-
instance [19]. dependent dynamic correction function k (t )
KIdyn (t ) = kdyn (t ) KIqs (t ) (3)
Figure 5 shows an example of k dyn (t ) for a three-point
4 CONSIDERATION bending specimen under impact loading [20].
OF DYNAMIC LOADING Material fracture resistance is characterised by the
dynamic fracture toughness KId which is a function of
During the operation of machines and equipment high the temperature T and loading rate. Two typical ranges
impact type loading can occur, for instance, through col- can be distinguished on the KId(T) curve:
lisions with moving or rotating parts as well as over- in the brittle (lower shelf) and ductile-brittle (transition
loads caused by transport accidents or simply by com- part) regimes, the increasing loading rate results in a
ponents falling down and hitting the ground. The loading considerable decrease of the fracture toughness;

Table 1 Procedure for assessment of mode II, III and mixed-mode loading based on [15, 16, 17]

Static loading Cyclic loading

KI 1
Loading parameter KV = + KI2 + 5.34 KII2 + 4KIII2 Analogue KV = f (KI , KII , KIII )
2 2
Material parameter KIc KIth
Special cases KIIc = 0.87 KIc KIIIc = KIc
Assessment Brittle fracture KV = KIc Fatigue endurance KV < KIth

a/W = 0,5
L/W = 4,1

dynamic correction function kdyn

cl =longitudinal elastic wave

velocity of the material
for plane stress [m/s]
t = time [s]

dimensionless time cl t/w

Figure 5 Dynamic correction function kdyn for impact-loaded three-point bending specimens [20]

in the ductile (upper shelf) regime, the fracture tough- dyn

max {KI (t )} < KId (T, K ) (4)
ness generally increases with the loading rate, so that
a conservative failure assessment can be based on the must be satisfied for a safe exclusion of crack initiation.
use of the quasi-static fracture resistance curve. Depending on the failure consequences, the accuracy
in determining the load parameters and facture tough-
The dynamic fracture toughness should be determined ness, appropriate safety factors can be additionally
under temperature and loading rate corresponding to applied.
the component service conditions. The use of a dynamic
master curve according to [21] is possible. Figure 6 com-
pares the static and dynamic master curves for a pres-
sure vessel steel [22]. A considerable embrittlement 5 CONSIDERATION OF STRESS
effect can be noticed due to increasing loading rate. CORROSION CRACKING
Alternatively the crack arrest curve KIa (ASTM E 1221)
can be employed as a lower bound for KId. Stress corrosion cracking is crack initiation and propa-
Fracture assessment in the upper shelf regime can fol- gation in materials under static tensile loading in a cor-
low the procedure for the static loading. In the lower rosive active medium. It is not possible to describe crack
shelf and brittle-to-ductile transition regimes, the condi- initiation with fracture mechanics methods. In many
tion cases crack propagation can be described with linear

Figure 6 Static and dynamic master curve for the material 6JRQ43; crack tip loading
rate 2 104 MPams-1 [22]

elastic fracture mechanics methods, that means using = konst. = P. (6)
the stress intensity factor K. Crack propagation occurs, dt
when stress intensity is high, the corrosive medium is
Lifetime can be calculated from
active and the material susceptible to stress corrosion.
Susceptible to stress corrosion are many material/ afinal ainitial
t= . (7)
medium combinations, some important are: P
austenitic and austenitic-ferritic CrNi-steels in chlo-
ride containing atmospheres,
high strength steels and high strength titanium alloys 6 PROBABILISTIC ASSESSMENT
in atmospheres, which can emit hydrogen as for instance
H2O, H2S, NH3 and other acids, As input data is often subject to a scatter or uncertain-
mild steels and low alloyed steels in hot nitrate, car- ties, a deterministic analysis has usually to be comple-
bonate and sulfide solutions and bases, mented by a sensitivity study with varying respective
aluminium alloys in chloride containing atmospheres parameters. Instead, statistical methods can be applied
(for instance water, seawater), to describe uncertainties in the flaw size and shape
magnesium alloys in seawater, measurements, a scatter in the fracture toughness and
copper alloys in ammonium, amin and nitride con- material strength data, as well as uncertainties in the
taining atmospheres, and definition of both primary loads and secondary stresses.
nickel alloys in nuclear reactors coolant (boiling water). Then a direct probabilistic assessment can be performed
Susceptibility increases with increasing temperature. to calculate the failure probability of a cracked compo-
Fracture often occurs macroscopic brittle, which means nent Pf or to quantify the influence of the scatter in the
without large visible plastic deformation. Dependent on input data on results of a crack growth prediction. On this
material and heat treatment stress corrosion cracks can note, the probabilistic analysis can be considered as an
grow transcrystalline or intercrystalline. Crack tips are extension or an alternative to the sensitivity study or to
often, but not always branched. In many cases multiple the use of partial safety factors [2, 23]. In contrast to the
cracks, parallel cracks or crack fields can occur. Crack latter approach, no failure probability has to be assumed
velocity da/dt depends on many factors. The depen- but this is to be calculated on the basis of the experi-
dency on stress intensity factor in principle is shown in mentally determined or postulated statistical distribu-
Figure 7. It can be divided in three regions. tions for the input parameters. Methods and examples
No crack growth occurs theoretically for of the probabilistic assessment of cracked components
can be found in numerous publications, e.g. [24-27].
K < KIscc . (5) Recommendations for a probabilistic failure assessment
Lifetime is infinite. But it should be stated that the rele- given in the guideline apply mainly to components under
vant value of KIscc can change by and by, for instance static loading.
because of changed atmosphere, temperature, elec-
trode potential, irradiation etc.
6.1 Scatter and uncertainties of input data
For the most practical applications region II is essential
and can be used as conservative assumption. For val- Variations in the input data as a result of inaccuracies
ues K in this plateau region the crack velocity of measurements, natural scatter of material data, as
well as uncertainties in defining respective parameters
can be described by statistical distributions. Given the
probability density function f (x) of a variate x, the dis-
tribution function F (x) is determined by
F (x) = f (u) du (8)
The distribution function is characterised by its mean,
standard deviation, coefficient of variation, shape and
scale parameters, etc. Among functions frequently used
in engineering calculations are the normal, lognormal,
Weibull and exponential distributions.

6.2 Input: flaw, loading and material state

The flaw state is characterised by the probability of

detection (POD), on one hand, and the flaw size distri-
bution, on the other hand. In most cases, the corre-
sponding distribution functions are established and cal-
ibrated in comprehensive experimental investigations,
Figure 7 Stress corrosion crack velocity da/dt e.g. on the basis of long-term inspection activities or
versus stress intensity factor non-destructive tests performed by different laborato-
in a corrosive medium ries. Data available in the literature, e.g. POD func-

tions [23-26], reflect particular component geometry, ing. Using MCS with 103 to 106 simulations, failure prob-
NDE technique, material state and, therefore, are rarely abilities of Pf = 4 10 3 and Pf = 3 10 2 were calcu-
transferable to the specific case to be investigated. lated for the mean crack depth a = 2 mm and
The loading is preferably treated as a deterministic para- a = 3 mm, respectively.
meter. However, uncertainties in the definition of resid- At low failure probabilities usually requested for safety
ual stresses as well as random amplitude fatigue load- relevant components, the use of MCS becomes rather
ing can be rationally resolved by using statistical inefficient due to extremely high computational time. In
methods. these cases the failure probability can be computed
Material strength properties and especially the fracture directly by applying the first- or second-order reliability
toughness are subject to considerable scatter which has methods (FORM or SORM, respectively), or a modified
to be accounted for in a probabilistic analysis. The use MCS version, the Monte Carlo simulation with impor-
of the master curve [21] is an example of a probabilis- tance sampling (MCS-IS). All these methods require the
tic treatment of the fracture toughness in failure analy- computation of the so-called design point which makes
ses. the principal contribution to the analysis effort.

6.3 Computation of the failure probability 6.4 Interpretation of results, assessment

A Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) is recommended to The calculated value of the failure probability essentially
compute high failure probabilities, e.g. above 10 3...10 5. depends on the quality of input data. Both assumptions
Given statistical distributions for the input parameters on the type of distribution functions with the related
(vector X) and the limit state function g (X) separating parameter fit and the selected method for computing
the safe and unsafe regimes, certain number N of deter- the failure probability may considerably affect the analy-
ministic calculations are performed for randomly selected sis result. Therefore, the absolute value of the failure
input data. The number Nf of failure cases in relation to probability should be handled with particular care.
the total number of simulations gives an approximate Generally, a probabilistic assessment should be con-
value of the failure probability sidered as a reasonable supplement to the determinis-
N tic analysis, for instance, to study the impact of differ-
Pf = f (9)
N ent input parameters and their variations on the
component integrity. Accordingly, in the example con-
which converges to the exact value with increasing
sidered above, the failure probability was shown to con-
number of simulations.
siderably depend on the crack size and the fracture
Figure 8 shows an example of the probabilistic failure toughness. Further assuming the Weibull distribution for
assessment for a pipeline with a spiral weld using the the fracture toughness [21]
FAD approach and MCS. A long surface crack was pos-

[( )]
Kmat Kmin
tulated on the outer surface, in the weld. Different sta- PKmat = 1 exp (10)
tistical distributions were assumed for the crack depth, K0 Kmin
the primary and secondary stresses, the yield and the
tensile strength, and the fracture toughness. The limit with K0 = 169 MPam and = 4, the requested level of
state function follows in this example the SINTAP rec- failure probability can be defined as a function of the
ommendations for the material with discontinuous yield- lower bound fracture toughness Kmin, Figure 9.

Figure 8 Probabilistic failure assessment in FAD


Figure 9 Failure probability vs. lower bound of the fracture toughness

7 EXAMPLES AND ANNEXES (2001, in German), 2nd Edition (2004, in German and
English), 3rd Edition (2005, in German).
For better illustration and understanding of the extended [3] FracSafe: Software to FKM-Guideline Fracture
topics, 9 additional examples were included. Altogether Mechanics proof of strength for engineering components,
there are now 20 worked examples in the guideline. VDMA Publ.,
They cover typical engineering components as shafts, [4] SINTAP: Structural Integrity Assessment Procedure for
plates, pipelines, casings and tracks and demonstrate European industry, Report BE95-1426, 1999.
the use of the guideline in design, quality assurance,
[5] Assessment of the Integrity of structures containing
fitness for service and failure analysis.
defects, R/H/R6-Revision 3, British Energy, 1998.
The document contains the following annexes:
[6] BS 7910: Guide on methods for assessing the accept-
standards and guidelines for non-destructive test ability of flaws in metallic structures, British Standards
methods, Institution, 1999.
determination of fracture toughness in the transition
region, [7] DVS-Merkblatt 2401: Bruchmechanische Bewertung
von Fehlern in Schweiverbindungen, DVS-Verlag, 2004.
materials data (standard mechanical and fracture
mechanical), [8] Paris P. C., Erdogan F.: A critical analysis of crack prop-
stress intensity factor and limit load solutions, agation laws, J. Basic Engineering 85, 1960, 528-534.
cyclic J-Integrals, [9] Fatigue Crack Growth Computer Programme NAS-
residual stresses, GRO Version 3.0 Reference Manual, National
mismatch in welded components (special option for Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) JSC-
FAD) and 22267B, 2000.
symbols, abbreviations, conversions. [10] Vormwald M.: Anrisslebensdauervorhersage auf der
Basis der Schwingbruchmechanik fr kurze Risse, Heft 47,
Institut fr Stahlbau und Werkstoffmechanik, Technische
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Universitt Darmstadt, 1989.
[11] Vormwald M., Seeger T.: The consequences of short
This research was funded by Forschungskuratorium crack closure on fatigue crack growth under variable ampli-
Maschinenbau (FKM) via Arbeitsgemeinschaft indus- tude loading, Int. J. of Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering
trieller Forschungsvereinigung (AiF), AiF-Contracts Materials and Structures 14, 1991, 205-225.
11576 N and 13463 N. [12] Dankert M.: Rissfortschrittslebensdauer, Heft 229,
Forschungshefte FKM, 1997.
[13] Dankert M., Greuling S., Seeger T.: A unified elastic-
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