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Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247 – 258

Fracture toughness transition curve estimation from a notched

round bar specimen using the local approach method
K. Hojo a,*, I. Muroya a, A. Brückner-Foit b
Takasago Research and De6elopment Center, Mitsubishi Hea6y Industries Limited, 2 -1 -1 Shinhama, Arai-cho,
Takasago 676, Japan
IMF-II, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Postfach 3640, D-76021 Karlsruhe, Germany

Received 4 March 1996; received in revised form 11 October 1996; accepted 30 April 1997


The local approach method for the brittle or transition region describes the fracture probability of specimens or
structures using Weibull statistics. Many papers have discussed the characteristics of the Weibull parameter using
notched tensile specimens and the applicability to fracture toughness scatter evaluation using CT specimens. However
few papers have made clear whether the Weibull parameter of the Weibull stress is a material property or not. In this
paper the distribution of Weibull stress in the brittle fracture region using notched round bar specimens and CT
specimens were investigated and it was confirmed that both distributions agreed well. Furthermore the estimation
method for the fracture toughness transition curve including its scatter from notched round bar tensile tests was
proposed based on the relation between the Weibull stress and the Wallin’s fracture toughness transition curve. As
a result, the estimated fracture toughness curve in the brittle and lower transition region from the notched round bar
specimens coincided with the measured fracture toughness curve from CT specimens. This method will be applicable
to fracture toughness curve estimation under plane strain conditions even if there is no possibility of obtaining thick
enough CT specimens from a structure because of geometry or some other restrictions. © 1997 Elsevier Science S.A.

1. Introduction imum thickness to meet the plane strain condition

and this may cause difficulty in obtaining a test
Recent structural integrity assessment uses frac- specimen with the required thickness from a struc-
ture mechanics parameters based on continuum ture depending on the fracture toughness level.
mechanics. For example, the stress intensity factor Furthermore it is well known that the fracture
K is used for brittle fracture and the experimental toughness scatters from the lower shelf to the
method to obtain the fracture toughness KIC has transition region of the fracture toughness transi-
been standardized by ASTM. However the con- tion curve in ferritic steel. This requires many
ventional fracture toughness tests specify the min- specimens to evaluate ferritic steel’s fracture be-
* Corresponding author. Tel.: + 81 794 456716; fax: + 81 The local approach to fracture has been intro-
794 456795. duced in order to quantitatively evaluate the scat-

0029-5493/97/$17.00 © 1997 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.

PII S 0 0 2 9 - 5 4 9 3 ( 9 7 ) 0 0 1 2 5 - 8
248 K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258

ter behavior of fracture toughness in the lower the Weibull statistics analysis flow chart with a
shelf region. In this method the Weibull stress was CT specimen as an example. The procedure is as
introduced as a parameter of Weibull statistics by follows.
Pineau (1981), Beremin (1983) and Mudry (1987) (1) KICs scatter is obtained from the fracture
and the applicability has been investigated mainly toughness test using CT specimens.
using notched tensile specimens. Also recently the (2) After sorting and numbering the KIC values
relation between conventional fracture mechanics in ascending order, the failure probability Pf is
parameter K and the Weibull parameter of the estimated by (i− 0.5)/N where i is the rank num-
local approach was studied by Minami et al. ber and N is the sample size.
(1992) and Tagawa et al. (1991, 1993). However (3) The finite element model with fine mesh
there is no paper that confirms that the Weibull division in the vicinity of the crack tip is prepared.
parameters from CT specimens and notched ten- (4) and (5) The relation between KIC and stress
sile specimens are the same values or describes the distribution is found after the finite element elastic
temperature dependency of the Weibull parameter plastic analysis using the model in (3).
in the lower transition region. (6) m0 and su0 are given as the initial Weibull
This paper discusses the applicability to the parameters for the iterative calculation.
fracture evaluation of CT specimens and notched (7) From (4) and (5) the stress distribution at
tensile specimens and proposes an estimation fracture is estimated and the Weibull stress shown
method for the fracture transition curve from in the equation in Fig. 1 is calculated.
notched tensile specimens using the local ap- (8) From the relation between KIC and fracture
proach. probability in (2) and the result of (7), the relation
between Weibull stress and failure probability can
be plotted on a Weibull statistics graph. Weibull
2. Evaluation method shape parameter m1 and scale parameter su1 are
obtained from this graph.
2.1. Local approach (9) and (10) If m1 is not equal to m0, input
values are changed to m1 and su1, and goes back
When the weakest link model can be applied to to (7).
cleavage fracture of steel, failure probability P tot
(9) and (11) If m1 is equal to m0, the iteration
of a structure is expressed by Eq. (2) using the has converged.
Weibull stress sW defined by Eq. (1).

sW $
1 dVpl
2.2. Fracture toughness transition cur6e of the
lower shelf-transition temperature region
V pl

sW m In the lower shelf-transition temperature region

P tot
f =1− exp − (2) of ferritic steel, fracture toughness KIC increases
as temperature rises.
where s1 is the maximum principal stress, V0 is Wallin (1993) proposed the temperature transi-
the reference volume (1 mm3 was chosen for tion curve of ferritic steel including the KIC scat-
normalization), Vpl is the plastic zone volume, and tering curve after investigation of several kinds of
m and su are the Weibull parameters. The Weibull ferritic steel. According to Wallin (1993) if the
parameters are considered as material constants. shift temperature T0 can be defined, it is possible
In order to obtain the Weibull stress and to describe the temperature dependency of the
Weibull parameters, the detailed stress informa- steels’ fracture toughness with a single curve. The
tion of the plastic zone of the analyzed structure expression is given by the following equation:
or specimen at fracture is required. Therefore the
local approach needs numerical simulation using Pf = 1−exp −
  B KIC − Kmin n
the finite element method (FEM). Fig. 1 shows B0 K0 − Kmin
K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258 249

Fig. 1. Weibull parameter analysis flow.

where K0 is the temperature dependent scale lower limiting KI value below which cleavage frac-
parameter corresponding to 63.2% fracture proba- ture is impossible and 20 MPa
m is assumed.
bility, B is the thickness of the tested specimen, KIC For ferritic steel, the temperature dependency of
is fracture toughness from the specimen with thick- fracture toughness is described by Eq. (4) introduc-
ness B, and B0 is the reference thickness. Kmin is a ing shift temperature T0 (K).
250 K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258

m) = 31 + 77 exp[0.019(T −T0)] (4) It can also be deduced from Eq. (11),
According to the local approach, in the case of V0s mu
K0 = (12)
cleavage fracture, the failure probability is ex- BCus m

pressed by Eq. (2). This equation is equivalent to

Therefore, if su, m and sy are found from the
Eq. (3) in the case of the fracture toughness test,
tensile tests, from Eq. (12) K0 is obtained. Conse-
therefore the following relation should exist:
sW m
KIC −Kmin  4
quently the shift temperature T0 can be defined by
Eq. (4), finally from Eq. (3) the fracture toughness
su K0 −Kmin transition curve and its scatter from the lower
shelf-transition region can be estimated.
Under small scale yielding conditions, the stress
field in the vicinity of the crack tip is approxi-
mated by Eq. (6) 3. Material test and numerical analysis
s1 g(u) (6) In this section, for investigation of applicability

of the local approach and Wallin’s fracture tough-
where r is the distance from the crack tip and g(u) ness transition curve to ferritic steel’s fracture
is the function with the angle from the crack behavior, the material tests and numerical simula-
surface. tion analysis using FEM were carried out.
In order to normalize the coordinate system,
using u= rs 2y/K 2, Eq. (6) is rewritten as follows, 3.1. Test conditions
s1 = sy (7) 3.1.1. Round bar tensile test

Using the round bar tensile specimen shown in
Similarly, normalizing small plastic zone area Fig. 2, the stress–strain curve was measured. The
dApl with K and sy, dApl is equal to K 4/s 4y · dupl material is A533B reactor pressure vessel steel.
where dupl is dimensionless small plastic zone The chemical composition is shown in Table 1.
area. Assuming that the stress distribution is uni- The number of test temperature points was 6
form in the thickness direction, Eq. (1) can be from − 150°C to 200°C.
written as
The speed of testing at room temperature and

sW =
1 g(u)
below was  9.81–29.4 MPa and that over room
temperature was  0.1–0.5% min − 1.
V0 u pl
2pu s 4y pl
From Eq. (8) and Eq. (5),

3.1.2. Fracture toughness test

su =
K (K0 −K ) s
IC BCu min
n 1/m
Fracture toughness was obtained using 1/
2TCT, 1TCT and 2TCT specimens with side-
(KIC −K ) V min 0
grooves as shown in Fig. 2b. The material is the
same as that for the round bar tensile specimen.
g(u) m The test temperatures were − 150°C and −
Cu = u du duu (10) 100°C. KIC was determined by ASTM E399-90. If
u pl
2pu KIC was not valid, JIC based on ASTM E813-89
For simplification, neglecting Kmin,

was converted to the KIC value.

su =
K 40s m
n 1/m
(11) 3.1.3. Notched tensile bar test
Tensile tests were conducted using the notched
Hence the relation between Weibull parameters tensile bar specimen shown in Fig. 2c. The mate-
su, m and fracture toughness parameter K0 can be rial is the same as mentioned above, and twelve
expressed by Eq. (11). specimens were used at − 150°C. To compare the
K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258 251

Fig. 3. Engineering stress – strain curve (temperature − 150°C).

3.2.2. Fracture toughness test

The test results at − 150°C and − 100°C are
shown in Tables 2 and 3, respectively. In this Table,
to increase the test number for Weibull statistics,
other test results using the same material are added.
Fracture toughness from 1/2TCT and 2TCT spec-
imens were converted to that from the 1TCT
specimen by thickness correction. The equations of

thickness correction were as follows:
Fig. 2. (a) Round tensile bar specimen; (b) CT specimen; (c) B1 1/4
notched tensile bar specimen. K(1TCT)= K1 (13)
where K(1TCT) is the corrected KI value for the
result of FE analysis, four strain gauges were pasted 1TCT specimen; K1 is the experimental KI value of
at a distance of 20 mm from the notched section the specimen used (MPa); and B1 is the nominal
of each specimen. thickness of the specimen used (mm)
From Table 2 all test results at −150°C show
3.2. Test results no ductile crack growth and relatively small scatter
of KIC. On the other hand as shown in Table 3, at
3.2.1. Round bar tensile test −100°C very small ductile crack growth can be
An example of the stress strain curves is shown seen from many specimen’s fracture surfaces and
in Fig. 3. Fig. 4 shows the temperature dependency the scatter of KIC increases in comparison with
of the yield stress by exponential type curve fitting. − 150°C.

Table 1
Chemical composition of A533B

C Si Mn P S Ni Cr Mo Cu N

0.21 0.22 1.48 0.007 0.008 0.62 0.09 0.48 0.06 0.01

Weight %.
252 K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258

3.3. Analysis

3.3.1. FE analysis Analytical condition. For the numerical

simulation FE code ABAQUS 4.9-1 was used.
The element type was an eight node plane
strain element(CPE8H) for CT specimens and an
eight node axial symmetric element (CAX8) for
notched tensile bar specimens.
Since cleavage fracture is assumed for the local
approach the analysis temperature of the CT
Fig. 4. Temperature dependency of yield stress. specimen was chosen to be − 150°C. The average
value of the stress–strain curve in Fig. 3 was used
for FE analysis and the material constants are as
follows: Young’s modulus E=2.19× 105 MPa;
3.2.3. Notched tensile bar test Poisson’s ratio n= 0.3; and yield stress sy =
Table 4 shows the fracture load of each speci- 7.11× 102 MPa.
men. As the result of fracture surface observation, Fig. 5a and b show FE mesh divisions and
it is confirmed that the river patterns flow from boundary conditions of the specimens. In order to
the center of the fracture surface to the outer calculate the detailed stress distribution at the
surface and there is no ductile crack growth. This stress concentration zone, the minimum element
means the onset of cleavage fracture in the center size is 0.05 mm for the CT specimen and 0.1 mm
of the fracture surface. for the notched tensile bar specimen.

Table 2
Result of fracture toughness tests (temperature −150°C)

Specimen No. Specimen type Initial crack length Maximum load Stable crack growth Da KIC (MPa ·
m) Note
(mm) (kN) (mm)

CT01 ITCT 28.6 19.7 0.00 48.3 A

CT02 ITCT 28.2 22.7 0.00 54.1 A
CT03 ITCT 28.6 19.0 0.00 46.6 A
CT04 ITCT 28.4 20.7 0.00 50.1 A
CT05 ITCT 28.6 20.5 0.00 50.2 A
CT06 ITCT 28.6 16.0 0.00 39.2 A
CT07 ITCT 28.6 18.5 0.00 45.1 A
CT08 ITCT 28.6 20.9 0.00 51.2 A
CT09 ITCT 28.5 18.4 0.00 44.9 A
CT10 ITCT 28.0 14.5 0.00 36.5 A
CT11 ITCT 28.3 18.1 0.00 44.1 A
CT12 2TCT 55.6 38.2 0.00 44.1 A
CT13 2TCT 55.0 67.6 0.00 66.5 B
CT14 1/2TCT 14.4 7.7 0.00 45.1 B
CT15 1/2TCT 14.2 4.4 0.00 25.1 A
CT16 1/2TCT 14.2 5.0 0.00 25.1 A

Note: A, valid KIC in ASTM; B, converted KIC from J.

K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258 253

Table 3
Result of fracture toughness tests (temperature −100°C)

Specimen No. Specimen type Initial crack length Maximum load Stable crack growth Da KIC (MPa ·
m) Note
(mm) (kN) (mm)

CT21 ITCT 28.5 31.2 0.00 80.2 A

CT22 ITCT 28.6 42.2 0.00 119.6 A
CT23 ITCT 28.6 37.9 0.00 103.8 A
CT24 ITCT 28.6 22.5 0.00 58.9 A
CT25 ITCT 28.6 40.8 0.00 114.1 A
CT26 ITCT 28.6 44.0 0.00 130.5 A
CT27 ITCT 28.4 28.4 0.00 71.0 A
CT28 ITCT 28.6 45.0 0.00 133.8 A
CT29 ITCT 28.5 43.9 0.00 125.1 A
CT30 ITCT 28.5 43.6 0.00 65.2 A
CT31 ITCT 28.4 24.4 0.00 55.8 A
CT32 2TCT 55.8 38.2 0.00 56.1 A
CT33 2TCT 55.2 147.7 0.00 128.1 B
CT34 1/2TCT 14.2 10.5 0.00 56.1 B
CT35 1/2TCT 14.1 9.3 0.00 128.1 B

Note: A, valid KIC in ASTM; B, converted KIC from J.

3.3.2. Results Notched tensile bar test. From the FE

analysis result it is shown that the maximum CT specimen. As an example of the stress principal stress is large around the central axis,
distribution, von Mises’s equivalent stress and the and it is estimated that the onset of fracture is the
principal stress contours are shown in Fig. 6a and model center. This agrees well with the observa-
b respectively. Fig. 7 shows the stress distribution tion of the fracture surface as mentioned in Sec-
vertical to the crack surface near the crack tip of tion 3.2. Fig. 8 shows the comparison of the
the CT specimen. From these figures, the stress fracture strain at a smoothed cross section of
distribution is very smooth and the precise stress analysis and experimental results. Both coincide
results seem to be obtained. well and the FE analysis of the notched tensile
bar specimen also gives a good result.
Table 4
Result of notched tensile bar tests (temperature −150°C) 3.3.3. Weibull parameter analysis
The Weibull stress and Weibull parameters
Specimen No. Maximum load (kN)
were calculated using the post files of the FE
N1BIM-1 98.5 code. The average value and 90% confidence in-
N1BIM-2 97.6 terval of the Weibull parameters of the CT and
N1BIM-3 96.6 those of the notched tensile bar specimens are
N1BIM-4 99.1
shown in Table 5. From this Table the Weibull
N1BIM-5 97.1
N1BIM-6 88.8 parameters of both specimens agree fairly well.
N1BIM-7 90.6 Fig. 9 shows fracture probability for two kinds of
N1BIM-8 93.6 specimens. As a result there is no remarkable
N1BIM-9 98.4 difference between the parameters of both speci-
N1BIM-10 93.9
N1BIM-11 97.0
mens, and these results give one of the proofs that
N1BIM-12 101.6 the Weibull parameters su and m are material
constants independent of the specimen geometry.
254 K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258

Fig. 5. (a) Mesh division of the CT specimen; (b) mesh division of the notched tensile bar specimen.

4. Discussion the relation K0 = 1.1Kave and Eq. (4), where Kave is

the average value of fracture toughness.
4.1. Applicability of Wallin’s fracture toughness The factor 1.1 of the relation of K0 and Kave can
transition cur6e be derived from Eq. (3). If the variable x obeys
the Weibull distribution, the failure probability
In order to show the applicability of Wallin’s F(x) is expressed by the following equation:
fracture toughness transition curve, the parameter
T0 of Eq. (4) is determined based on the experi-
F(x)= 1− exp −
  x m
mental data in Table 2. T0 can be derived from b
K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258 255

Fig. 6. (a) von Mises equivalent stress contour (CT specimen, temperature −150°C); (b) principal stress contour (CT specimen,
temperature − 150°C).
256 K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258

Table 5
Weibull parameters

CT specimen Notched tensile

bar specimen

Shape factor m (90% 17.08 (12.17, 17.43 (11.74,

confidence interval) 24.11) 26.25)
Shape factor su 1954.3 (1904.7, 1891.1 (1837.1,
(MPa) (90% confi- 2006.1) 1948.2)
dence interval)

interval in comparison with the experimental

Fig. 7. Stress distribution near the crack tip vertical to the
data. From this figure, although there are only
crack surface (CT specimen, temperature −150°C).
two kinds of data at −150°C and − 100°C, most
data are within the 90% confidence interval of
where b is the scale factor and m is the shape
Wallin’s prediction curve. This suggests Eqs. (3)
factor. In this case, the expectation value, that is
and (4) are applicable to estimate the fracture
the average value E(x) is expressed by the follow-
behavior at the lower shelf-transition temperature
ing equation:

1 1
E(x)= b != bG +1 (15)
m m
4.2. Temperature dependence of the Weibull
Comaring Eq. (3) with Eq. (14) and using m= 4 parameter su
in Eq. (15), the following equation is obtained.
Kave =Kmin + (K0 −Kmin)G +1
According to Tagawa et al. (1991), the Weibull
parameter su has been considered temperature
m independent. However there has been no data
logically explained. This will be discussed here.
Here if Kmin is neglected, K0 =1.1 Kave can be According to Eq. (11), su is a function of K0
derived. and sy. When the relations between parameters
Fig. 10 shows the estimated fracture toughness K0, sy and temperature are obtained, the tempera-
transition curve using resolved T0 value and upper ture dependency of su can be estimated. Since
and lower bounds defined by the 90% confidence

Fig. 8. Comparison of the measured strain and FE results for Fig. 9. Comparison of fracture probability of the CT speci-
the notched tensile bar specimens on fracture. mens and the notched tensile bar specimens.
K. Hojo et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 174 (1997) 247–258 257

Fig. 10. Wallin’s fracture transition curve and experimental Fig. 12. Comparison of the fracture toughness transition curve
results. of the CT specimens and the notched tensile bar specimens.

both relations have been obtained from the CT 4.3. Correlation of fracture beha6ior of the CT
specimens and the round bar tensile specimens specimens and the notched tensile bar specimens
in the above sections, it is possible to estimate
the variation of su with temperature using Eq. Fig. 12 shows the fracture toughness curve
(11) (Fig. 11). In this figure, su directly defined from the CT specimen using Eqs. (3) and (4)
from the experimental results obtained with the and that from the notched tensile bar specimen
notched tensile bars is also plotted for compari- using Eqs. (12), (3) and (4). Both curves agree
son. This figure shows su is almost constant well and there is a possibility that the fracture
from −150°C to − 100°C. Therefore it seems toughness curve from the lower shelf-transition
justified to assume that the Weibull parameters region can be estimated from the notched tensile
are independent of temperature in the lower bar test at one temperature condition.
shelf region. However, the behavior in the tran-
sition region is not clear, because ductile crack
growth may introduce additional fracture me- 5. Conclusion
In this paper it has been shown that for
cleavage fracture the Weibull parameters are
material constants independent of the specimen
shape. Furthermore by relating the Weibull
parameters and conventional fracture mechanics
parameter K, the procedure that estimates the
fracture toughness transition curve from the
notched tensile bar test was proposed and its
applicability was shown by fracture toughness
tests and tensile tests.


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of su. proach. Int. J. Fract. 54, 197 – 210.
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