Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 707–718 | Cite as

Finite Element Analysis of Plastic Collapse and Crack Behavior of Steel Pressure Vessels and Piping Using XFEM

  • P. F. Liu
  • B. J. Zhang
  • J. Y. Zheng
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


This article aims to study the plastic collapse and crack behavior of steel pressure vessels and piping using the extended finite element method (XFEM). First, the plastic collapse loads of steel cylinders under the internal pressure are predicted, and the numerical results are compared with experimental data. In addition, the computational efficiency and accuracy using different methods including the XFEM, nonlinear stabilization algorithm, and arc-length algorithm are compared. Particularly, effects of different initial crack configurations, element sizes, damage initiation, and evolution criteria on the crack behaviors are investigated. Second, the crack initiation and propagation properties of buried pipelines due to deflection in the landslide area are explored, and the numerical results are compared between testing data and current study. Besides, the effects of internal pressure, wall thickness, soil property, and width of landslide area on the critical deflection displacement of buried pipeline are studied. This research provides a fundamental support for safety evaluation and life prediction of pressurized structures.


Extended finite element method Crack initiation and propagation Failure analysis Plastic collapse 



Crack depth

D/t ratio

Ratio of diameter to thickness


Young’s modulus


Energy release rate


Critical energy release rates of three fracture modes


Critical equivalent energy release rates based on mixed-mode criteria


Crack length


Internal pressure


Tensile strength


Maximum deflection displacement along the axial direction

\( \sigma_{{\hbox{Max} {\text{ps}}}} \)

Maximum principal stress as damage initiation criterion



This research is supported by the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program, Grant No. 2012AA040103), the Special Funds for Quality Supervision Research in the Public Interest (Grant No. 201210242) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Process EquipmentZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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