The ductile crack propagation behavior of pressure equipment has always been the focus of structural integrity assessment. It is very important to find an effective three-dimensional (3D) damage model, which overcomes the geometric discontinuity and crack tip singularity caused by cracking. The cohesive force model (CZM), which is combined with the extended finite element method (XFEM), can solve element self-reconfiguration near the crack tip and track the crack direction. Based on the theory of void nucleation, growth and coalescence, the Gurson-Tvergaard-Needleman (GTN) damage model is used to study the fracture behavior of metallic materials, and agrees well with the experimental results. Two 3D crack propagation models are used to compare crack propagation behavior of pipe steel from the crack tip shape, fracture critical value of CTOA and CTOD, constraint effect, calculation accuracy, efficiency and mesh dependence etc. The results show that the GTN model has excellent applicability in the analysis of crack tip CTOD/CTOA, constraint effect, tunneling crack and so on, and its accuracy is high. However, the mesh of crack growth region needs to be extremely refined, and the element size is required to be 0.1–0.3mm and the calculation amount is large. The CZM model combined with XFEM has the advantages of high computational efficiency and free crack growth path, and the advantages are obvious in simulating the shear crack, combination crack and fatigue crack propagation. But, the crack tip shape and thickness effect of ductile tearing specimen can not be simulated, and the CTOA value of local crack tip is not accurate.

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