The standardization of any mechanical material characterization is aiming to get homogenization on the testing physical execution by independent laboratories and to drive for accurate material evaluation between different entities. However, from time to time, standard tests may be reconsidered in order to improve their efficacy, execution time and incorporate new testing techniques or technologies without compromising the testing results and consistency. In the present work, fracture toughness crack tip opening displacement (CTOD) testing is addressed and particularly the need to perform fatigue pre-cracking prior monotonic testing. Without the fatigue pre-cracking, CTOD testing time can be significantly reduced during the preparation of specimens, meaning that specimens can be tested as soon as they are machined.

Wire electro-discharge machining (EDM) technique allows generating sharp tip notches, and presents a good alternative to the standards specified fatigue pre-cracking [1–2]. In addition, this machining technology reduces the risk of rejecting the specimen testing, particularly when targeting weld heat affected zone/fusion line (HAZ/FL) microstructure on specimens with surface notch DNV-ST-F101 Figure B-9 [3], where it is specified that the crack tip shall be within a narrow distance (0.5 mm) from the fusion line (FL) or assess grain coarsened heat affected zone (GCHAZ) microstructure as indicated in DNV-ST-F101 section B.2.8.7 [3]. Herein, it is presented an assessment carried out in order to identify the notch type effect over the fracture toughness (CTOD) considering notches conditions as standard fatigue pre-crack and wire electro-discharge machining (EDM).

Fifteen (15) CTOD specimens were manufactured from plain pipe material (same pipe), 251.3 mm OD × 20.9 mm WT, SMLS 450PD and tested according to ISO 12135 recommendations [1], they were distributed as follow; five (5) specimens according to standard recommendations with fatigue pre-cracking length ≥ 1.3 mm or 2.5%W (whichever is bigger), five (5) specimens with a fatigue pre-cracking length < 1.3 mm (between 0.5 mm to 1 mm), and five (5) specimens without fatigue pre-cracking (EDM notch), additionally, results from five (5) specimens previously tested in a round robin (RR) testing performed internally by Tenaris using the same LP material and standard fatigue pre-crack length. The crack length target (a/W) was kept 0.5 for all cases.

Even if the sampling population is relatively small considering the three notch conditions, it seems that EDM might be an alternative to the standard specified fatigue pre-cracking. Thus, this experimental assessment aims to open the discussion on the use of EDM notch as alternative.

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