Use of the Master Curve Methodology for Real Three Dimensional Cracks

Kim Wallin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


At VTT, development work has been in progress for 15 years to develop and validate testing and analysis methods applicable for fracture resistance determination from small material samples. The VTT approach is a holistic approach by which to determine static, dynamic and crack arrest fracture toughness properties either directly or by correlations from small material samples. The development work has evolved a testing standard for fracture toughness testing in the transition region. The standard, known as the Master Curve standard is in a way “first of a kind”, since it includes guidelines on how to properly treat the test data for use in structural integrity assessment. No standard, so far, has done this. The standard is based on the VTT approach, but presently, the VTT approach goes beyond the standard. Key components in the standard are statistical expressions for describing the data scatter, and for predicting a specimens size (crack front length) effect and an expression (Master Curve) for the fracture toughness temperature dependence. The standard and the approach, it is based upon, can be considered to represent the state of the art of small specimen fracture toughness characterization. Normally, the Master Curve parameters are determined using test specimens with “straight” crack fronts and comparatively uniform stress state along the crack front. This enables the use of a single KI value and single constraint value to describe the whole specimen. For a real crack in a structure, this is usually not the case. Normally, both KI and constraint vary along the crack front and in the case of a thermal shock, even the temperature will vary along the crack front. A proper means of applying the Master Curve methodology for such cases is presented here.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1388-1394
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number12-13
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed
Event18th International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology, SMiRT 18 - Beijing, China
Duration: 7 Aug 200512 Aug 2005


  • Master Curve
  • 3D-cracks
  • brittle fracture
  • constraint


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