In fracture assessments of steel structures containing cracks, it has generally been assumed that the fracture resistance of fracture toughness specimens is equal to the fracture resistance of structural components. However, such an assumption often leads to excessively conservative fracture assessments. This is due to a loss of plastic constraint in structural components, which are subjected mainly to tensile loading. By contrast, fracture toughness specimens hold a constrained stress state near the crack-tip due to bending mode. The loss of constraint is significant for high strength steels with high yield-to-tensile ratios (= yield stress/tensile strength) which have been extensively developed and widely applied to structures in recent years.
ISO 27306:2016 specifies a method for converting the CTOD (crack-tip opening displacement) fracture toughness obtained from laboratory specimens to an equivalent CTOD for structural components, taking constraint loss into account. This method can also apply to fracture assessment using the stress intensity factor or the J-integral concept (see Clause 9).
ISO 27306:2016 deals with the unstable fracture that occurs from a crack-like defect or fatigue crack in ferritic structural steels. Unstable fracture accompanied by a significant amount of ductile crack extension and ductile fractures are not included in the scope hereof.
The CTOD fracture toughness of structural steels is measured in accordance with the established test methods, ISO 12135 or BS 7448-1. The fracture assessment of a cracked component is done using an established method such as FAD (Failure Assessment Diagram) in the organization concerned, and reference is not made to the details thereof in ISO 27306:2016.
It can be used for eliminating the excessive conservatism frequently associated with the conventional fracture mechanics methods and accurately assessing the unstable fracture initiation limit of structural components from the fracture toughness of the structural steel. This is also used for rationally determining the fracture toughness of materials to meet the design requirements of performance of structural components.