A critical part of the assessment of defects in power plant components, both fossil and nuclear, is the knowledge of the crack driving force (K1, J, or C*). While the determination of the crack driving force is possible using finite element analyses, crack growth analyses using finite element methods can be expensive. Based on work by Il’yushin, it has been shown that for a power law hardening material, the fully plastic portion of the J-integral (or the C*-integral) is directly related to an h1 calibration function. The value of h1 is a function of the geometry and hardening exponent. The finite element program ABAQUS was used to evaluate the fully plastic J-integral and determine the h1 functions for various geometries. The Ramberg-Osgood deformation theory plasticity model, which may be used with the J-integral evaluation capability, allows the evaluation of fully plastic J solutions. Once it was established that the grid used to generate the h1 functions was adequate (based on the more recent work of Shih and Goan), additional runs were made of other configurations given in the EPRI Elastic-Plastic Fracture Handbook. Differences as great as 55 percent were found when compared to results given in the Handbook (single-edge crack plate under tension and plane stress with a/b = 0.5). Effects of errors in h1 on predicted failure load and creep crack growth are discussed.

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