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API 579

An Introduction to API RP 579:

Section 9
Assessment of Crack Like

API 579
Classical engineering design
applied stress : material resistance
component is defect-free
Possible presence of defects
casting, welding, forming, develop during operation
Fitness for Service (FFS) procedure
Determining the residual life of damaged plant
Ensuring safe operation beyond design life
Down-rating damaged plant below design
Demonstrating tolerance to defects within a safety case
Extending inspection intervals
Reducing duration of outage and shutdown

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API 579
API: American Petroleum Industry
API Codes and Standards for:
design, fabrication, inspection and testing of new pressure
vessels, piping systems and storage tanks
do not address the fact that equipment degrades while in-service
deficiencies due to degradation or from original fabrication may be
found during subsequent inspections.
Can be applied to other industries
API Codes
API 510: Pressure vessel inspection code
API 570: Piping inspection code
API 653: Tank inspection code
API 580: Risk based inspection
API 579

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API 579
API 579

to ensure safety:plant personnel,

to provide sound FFS assessment
to ensure consistent remaining life
to enhance long-term economic

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API 579
API 579
API's Recommended Practice 579 for FFS
API 579 can be used to make run-repair-
replace decisions
The 1,000-page document is organized into
Each section is based on a type of flaw or
damage, such as crack-like flaws
The document is primarily aimed at the
petrochemical industry
types of damage listed seen in petrochemical
they are present in other industries

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API 579 Overview of Damage
Assessment Procedures
1 Introduction and Scope
2 Outline of Overall Methodology
3 Brittle Fracture
4 General Metal Loss
5 Local Metal Loss
6 Pitting Corrosion
7 Blisters and Laminations
8 Weld Misalignments and Shell Distortions
9 Crack Like Flaws
10 High Temp. Operation and Creep
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API 579 Methodology for All Damage
1 Flaw and damage mechanism identification
2 Applicability and limitations of the FFS
assessment procedures
3 Data requirements
4 Assessment techniques and acceptance criteria
5 Remaining life evaluation
6 Remediation
7 In-service monitoring
8 Documentation
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API 579
Assessment Levels
Three levels of assessment for each flaw and damage
Level 1 to 3
Assessment level
Amount of information required
Skill of the assessor
Complexity of analysis
Level 1
NDE inspector
Level 2
Plant Engineer
Level 3
FFS Expert

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API 579 API 579 Section 9 - ASSESSMENT
FFS for crack like flaws
Based on Failure Assessment Diagram (FAD)
Crack like flaws observed from inspection:
planar flaws
Length, depth, sharp root radius
Conservative to treat volumetric flaws as cracks
Micro-cracks at root
Relative flaw tolerance at design stage
Risk to fracture
a/t = 25%, length = 6a

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API 579 Applicability and Limitations of
the Procedure
Level 1 and 2
Original Design Criteria
Operating temperature less than Creep
Dynamic Loading effects not significant
No in-service crack growth

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API 579 Applicability and Limitations of
the Procedure : Level 1
Flat plate, cylinder or sphere
R/t > 5
t < 38 mm
Away from major structural discontinuity
Only membrane stress field, within design limits
C-Steel with specified max. tensile prop. And min.
fracture properties

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API 579
Data Requirement

Original Equipment Design Data

Maintenance and equipment history
Loads and stresses
Material properties
Flaw Characterization
Recommendation for inspection

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API 579
Flaw Characterization
Simple geometry, amenable for fracture
mechanics analysis
Objective is to get a crack of conservative
size in plane to maximum principal stress
Cracks from inspection:
irregular in shape
arbitrarily oriented
multiple cracks
branched cracks

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API 579
Flaw Characterization (Shape)

Through Wall Flaw

Surface Flaw

Embedded Flaw 14
API 579 Flaw Characterization (length) when
flaw is not normal to principal stress
Conservative Option
Co (measured length), C (length used in
calculations, normal to max. stresses)
Take C = Co
Equivalent flaw length
Inclined cracks -> align itself perpendicular
to the applied stress
Mixed mode to Mode I crack
Equivalent Mode I from energy

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API 579
Flaw Characterization (Length)

c c0 f 1 , 2 ,
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API 579
Flaw Characterization (depth)

Depth difficult to measure

A. Flaw depth by default values
Through wall flaw, a = t,
Surface flaw, a min [ t , c ] length=2c
B. Flaw depth from actual
Normal flaw, a=ao

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API 579
Flaw Characterization (Depth)

a aoW
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API 579
Flaw Characterization (Branch Crack)

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API 579
Flaw Characterization (Multiple Cracks)

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API 579 Level 1 Analysis
STEP 1 Determine the load cases and temperatures: operating
and design conditions.
STEP 2 Determine the length and depth of the crack:
STEP 3 Determine the case from the list below
o Flat Plate, Crack-Like Flaw Parallel To Joint
o Cylinder, Longitudinal Joint, Crack-Like Flaw Parallel To Joint
o Cylinder, Longitudinal Joint, Crack-Like Perpendicular To Joint
o Cylinder, Circumferential Joint, Crack-Like Flaw Parallel To Joint
o Cylinder, Circumferential Joint, Crack-Like Flaw Perpendicular To Joint
o Sphere, Circumferential Joint, Crack-Like Flaw Parallel To Joint
o Sphere, Circumferential Joint, Crack-Like Flaw Perpendicular To Joint

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API 579 Level 1 analysis

Tref = use 38oC (material specific

can also be obtained from
Section 3)
At Tref +33o Cv = 68J, l.e. >.89mm

t, flaw
t flaw

A flaw in base metal.

B flaw in weld metal that has been subject to PWHT.
C flaw in weld metal that has not been subject to
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API 579
Failure Assessment Diagram

K r f Lr
K '
K mat


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API 579
Advantages of FAD

Double criteria approach:

Elasto-Plastic Fracture Mechanics:
J-Integral calculation not required

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API 579
Level 2 Analysis
If the component does not meet the
Level 1 Assessment requirements then a
Level 2 or Level 3 Assessment can be
Method A: Using partial safety factors
Factor for applied loading
Factor for material toughness
Factor for flaw dimensions
Based on probabilistic methods

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API 579
Level 2 Analysis
1 Evaluate operating conditions and determine the pressure,
temperature and loading combinations to be evaluated.
2Stress distributions at the location of the flaw. Classify
Primary stress
Secondary stress
Residual stress
Appendix E of API 579 contains a compendium of residual stress
distributions for various weld geometries
3 Determine the material properties
yield strength
tensile strength
fracture toughness

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API 579
Level 2 Analysis
Appendix F of API 579 contains information on
material properties, including toughness
Appendix does not contain a database of
toughness values
It provides correlations and estimation methods
For ferritic steels, there are lower-bound
correlations of toughness to Charpy transition
From Sections III and XI of the ASME boiler and
pressure vessel code

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API 579
Level 2 Analysis
API 579 endorses the use of the fracture
toughness Master Curve, as implemented in
ASTM Standard E 1921-97
4 Determine the crack dimensions: characterize
5 Modify the primary stress, material fracture
toughness, and flaw size using the Partial Safety
Factors ( PSF )
Pm Pm .PSFS K mat a a.PSFa
K mat

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API 579 Need for Partial safety Factors
Consider a Design
R = L1 + L2 + L3
Let the factor of safety be 1.5
R/(L1+L2+L3) = 1.5

1.5 to account for scatter in R, L

Probability of failure P(R < [L1+L2+L3])
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API 579 Estimating the Probability of
Let all the variables R, L1, L2, L3 follow a
normal distribution.

Coeff. Of Var ()

R 0.1
L1 0.1
L2 0.2
L3 0.3

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API 579
Reliability Index

The reliability index is given by

R 1 2 3


Now we will try to estimate probability

of failure for different load combinations
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API 579 R = 300 Global Factor of safety = 1.5 i.e. R/ = 1.5

1 2 3 Pf

200 0 0 200 2.8x10-3

0 200 0 200 2.3x10-3

0 0 200 200 6.8x10-2

Need for safety factors (PSF) on each component of

load for consistent Reliability

R/f = f1.L1 + f2.L2 + f3.L3

PSF ensures guaranteed lower bound reliability
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API 579
Partial safety Factors
Brittle Ductile

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API 579
Level 2 Analysis
6 Compute the reference stress for primary
reference stress solutions: Appendix D
7 Compute the Load Ratio p

Lrp ref
8 Compute the stress intensity attributed to the
primary loads
9 Compute the reference stress for secondary and
residual stresses (used for )
10 Compute the stress intensity attributed to the
secondary and residual stresses
11 Compute the plasticity interaction factor, in
presence of secondary loads

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API 579
Level 2 Analysis
12 Determine toughness ratio Kr
K mat
13 Evaluate results on FAD

K r 1 0.14 LPr
0.3 0.7 exp

0.65 Lr
P 6
for LP
r LP
r (max)

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API 579
Level 2 Analysis

If Partial safety Factors are not used


0 0.2 0.4 Lr 0.6 0.8 1

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API 579
Residual Stress Profiles
Listed in Appendix E of API 579 Section 9
Residual stress distributions are provided for
the following weld joint configurations
Full Penetration Welds in Piping and Pressure Vessel
Cylindrical Shells
Full Penetration Welds in Spheres and Pressure
Vessel Heads
Full Penetration Welds in Storage Tanks
Full Penetration and Fillet Welds at Corner Joints
Fillet Welds at Tee Joints
Repair Welds

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API 579
Residual stress profiles
Based on upper bound values of the extensive
numerical analyses and a literature survey of
published results
Residual stress distributions are provided for
both the as-welded and PWHT conditions
Distinction is not made concerning the material
of construction
Weld joint geometry
Single V-Type
Double V-Type
Fillet welds
Repair welds

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API 579
Data required
The material specification
The material specified minimum yield strength
The wall thickness of the component
The heat input used to make the weld
The type of weld (i.e. girth or circumferential joint,
longitudinal seam, repair weld, or attachment weld)
The weld joint configuration (i.e. single V-groove,
double V-groove, corner joint, fillet weld, or repair
Procedures aimed at reducing the residual stress level
hydrotest to 150% of the maximum allowable working
pressure (MAWP)per the ASME Code, Section VIII,
post weld heat treatment per the original construction code

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API 579
Level 3 Analysis
Method A Assessment Level 2 the FAD with user
specified Partial Safety Factors based on a risk
Method B Assessment FAD is constructed based on
the actual material properties
1 2

K r LPr
P ref
Lr ys
P 3
for 0.0 < LP LP
Lr ys 2 Ee ref r r (max)

K r LPr 1 for LPr 0

t 1 e es es
e t ln 1 e es
Where subscripts t = true, es = engineering
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API 579
Level 3 Analysis
Method C Assessment FAD is constructed
based on the actual loading conditions,
component geometry and material properties
J elastic
J total

Method D Assessment This method is a

ductile tearing analysis where the fracture
tearing resistance is defined as a function of
the amount of stable ductile tearing

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API 579
Level 3 Analysis
Method E Assessment The recognized assessment
procedures listed below are subject to supplemental
requirements that may include the use of Partial Safety
Factors or a probabilistic analysis.

BS PD6493 or BS 7910
Nuclear Electric R-6
SAQ/FoU Report 96/08
WES 2805 1997
DPFAD Methodology
EPFM using the J-integral
The J-integral-Tearing Modulus method

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API 579 Remaining Life Assessment
Sub-critical Crack Growth
Crack growth by fatigue
Crack growth by stress corrosion cracking
Crack growth by hydrogen assisted cracking
Crack growth by corrosion fatigue
Growth of a pre-existing crack is controlled by a
crack tip stress intensity factor
Laws for crack growth rates for these mechanisms
have been provided in Appendix F

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API 579
Difficulties in RLA
Crack growth rates can be highly sensitive
to changes in the process environment
Models are fitted in carefully controlled
conditions in a laboratory experiment
Cracking often occurs as the result of an
upset in operating conditions
Average crack growth rate would be
meaningless in such instances
New cracks can initiate at other locations
in the structure

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API 579
Procedure for RLA
1 Perform a Level 3 assessment for the initial
crack size
If the component is acceptable apply remedial
measures to prevent further crack growth
2 If effective remedial measures are not
possible and slow sub-critical crack growth is
If a crack growth law exists for the material and service
environment: a crack growth analysis can be
performed else, a leak-before break analysis should be

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API 579
Procedure for RLA
3 Compute the stress at the flaw based
on the future operating conditions
4 Determine an increment in crack
5 Perform a Level 3 assessment for the
current crack size
If the assessment point is outside of the FAD or
the crack is re-categorized as a through-wall
crack, then go to STEP 6; otherwise, go to STEP
4 and continue to grow the crack

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API 579
Procedure for RLA
6 Determine the time or number of stress cycles for
the current crack size (ao, co) to reach the limiting
flaw size
Acceptable if time to reach the limiting flaw size,with FOS, is
more than the required operating period
If the depth of the limiting flaw size is re-categorized as a
through-wall thickness crack, the conditions for an
acceptable leak before break (LBB) criteria should be
7 At the next inspection, establish the actual crack
growth rate, and re-evaluate the new flaw conditions.
Alternatively, repair or replace the component or apply
effective mitigation measures
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API 579
LBB Procedure
It may be possible to show that a flaw can
grow through the wall of a component
without causing a catastrophic failure

In such cases, a leak can be detected

(taking into consideration the contained
fluid and type of insulation) and remedial
action could be initiated to avoid a
component failure

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API 579
Leak Before Break

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API 579
LBB Procedure Limitations
The leak should be readily detectable
Tight crack
Contained fluid
The LBB methodology may not be suitable for flaws near
stress concentrations or regions of high residual stress

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API 579
LBB Limitations

Flaw at a stress concentration

Flaw subjected to high

residual stresses

Flaw growth in
predominantly length
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API 579
LBB Limitations
Crack growth rate high
Adequate time must be available to discover the
leak and take the necessary action
Possible adverse consequences of
developing a leak
hazardous materials
fluids operating below their boiling point
fluids operating above their auto-ignition

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API 579
LBB Procedure
1 Demonstrate that the largest initial flaw size left in
the structure will not lead to fracture during the life of
the component.
2 Determine the largest (critical) crack length of a full
through-wall crack below which catastrophic rupture
will not occur for all applicable load cases.
3 Compute the corresponding leak areas associated
with the critical crack lengths
4 Determine the leakage rate associated with the crack
area computed above, and demonstrate that the
associated leaks are detectable with the selected leak
detection system

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API 579
Method 1 Removal or repair of the crack. The crack
may be removed by blend grinding
Method 2 Use of a crack arresting detail or device
Method 3 Performing physical changes to the process
Method 4 Application of solid barrier linings or coatings
to keep the environment isolated from the base metal
Method 5 Injection of water and/or chemicals on a
continuous basis to modify the environment or the
surface of the metal
Method 6 Application of weld overlay
Method 7 Use of leak monitoring and leak-sealing

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API 579
In-service monitoring
In all cases where sub-critical in-service
crack growth is permitted
in-service monitoring or
monitoring at a shutdown inspection
of the crack growth by NDE is required.
The applicable NDE method will depend
on the specific case.

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API 579
Example Calculation
A plate of SA 516 Grade 70 steel
Edge crack, depth a = 0.5 inch
Width of plate W = 5 inch
Thickness B = 1.25 inch
Service temp.T = 100o F
Axial Load F = 240 kips
Yield stress Sy = 38 ksi
Toughness not known
Safe ? Using a Level 2 analysis

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API 579

Kc, from Table 3.3 of API 579, Tref

= 40o F

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API 579

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API 579

Example of Level 2 FAD

(1.12, 0.559)
0.6 Load = 171 kips



0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2

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API 579

Thank You

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