This report summarises the work done for the activity: “Benchmark analysis on the eXtended Finite Element Method (X-FEM) calculation technology in its use to evaluate the fracture mechanics stress intensity parameters KI, KII and KIII for different types of loadings (mechanical, thermal) in metal components and structures”.
The benchmark study was initiated due to the growing need for an efficient and effective tool that can be used in the evaluation of the harmfulness of a nuclear component or structure. This growing need is inherent to the fact that many nuclear power plants in many countries are reaching the end of their design lifetimes, and these lifetimes have already been or will be extended in the near future. With these extensions, the probability of detecting a flaw or planar crack in components and structures increases. As most of the components of the primary circuit or secondary circuit are not easily replaceable, tools that can estimate the harmfulness of flaws must be available and easy to use for any component and crack(s) geometry. In this context, the eXtended Finite Element Method (X-FEM) may be a useful tool.
Until recently, the use of X-FEM has been limited in fracture mechanics analysis in the nuclear industry. X-FEM has only been implemented in a few commercial and research codes.