Analysis of fatigue crack growth data for low-alloy steel shows that the influence of cyclic frequency in simulated LWR environments can be interpreted as the superposition of a time-dependent, corrosion-assisted crack growth rate upon an increment predicted by a Paris law. The time-dependent component increases monotonically to a maximum of about 6×10−5 mm/s as stress cycling becomes more aggressive. A useful measure of aggressiveness is the average time rate of crack advance due to the Paris law component alone; i.e., AΔKn × frequency. The result suggests that current ASME Code methods for flaw assessment are highly conservative in some regimes of stress and frequency, but there is a possibility of growth rates well above the ASME XI, Appendix A curves in a very low-frequency, high-stress regime. An upper bound to the time rate of corrosion-assisted crack growth in low-alloy steel is well supported by the data. The threshold conditions for the onset of this high rate are less well defined and require further investigation.

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