Offshore activity in low-temperature areas requires the use of analysis methods that are capable of reliably predicting cleavage (brittle) fracture of ferritic steels in order to guarantee the structural integrity during service. Cleavage fracture is controlled by physical events at different size scales and is influenced by the multiple microstructural parameters of the material. The prediction of fracture toughness of steels based on the microstructure has received great attention, and relevant techniques have been continuously developed. This paper is aimed at reviewing the recent development of cleavage fracture modelling in steels and identifying the existing challenges to inspire further research. The paper contains three parts aimed at explaining how methods are developed and utilized to predict fracture toughness of steel from its microstructures. (1) The complex multiparametric nature of the microstructures of ferritic steels and its influence on cleavage fracture is introduced. (2) A review is given on the main perspectives and models in micromechanisms of cleavage fracture in steels. (3) Discussion is contributed to the link between micromechanisms and the local approach in cleavage fracture modelling. As a result, the paper gives a state of the art on microstructural mechanics and local approach methods of cleavage fracture modelling in structural steels.

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