Extending the operating life of power-plant, chemical reactor and land, sea and air based gas turbine components beyond their original design life has considerable economic advantages. Fracture mechanics is used extensively to predict the remaining life and safe inspection intervals as part of maintenance programs for these systems. The presence of creep deformation and time-dependent damage accumulation in these components present very significant challenges. Therefore, the emphasis of this paper is on the time-dependent fracture mechanics concepts.
A critical assessment of the current state-of-the-art of time dependent fracture mechanics concepts, test techniques, analytical procedures and application tools is made to demonstrate the potential of this technology in maintenance engineering. In addition, future developments that are needed to enhance the application of this technology are also described and limits of the current approaches are also discussed.
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