Standardized procedures to measure cleavage fracture toughness of ferritic steels in the DBT region most commonly employ three-point bend fracture specimens, conventionally termed SE(B) or SENB specimens. The evaluation protocol of fracture toughness for these crack configurations builds upon laboratory records of load and crack mouth opening displacement (CMOD) to relate plastic work with J (or, equivalently, CTOD). The experimental approach employs a plastic η-factor to relate the macroscale crack driving force to the area under the load versus crack mouth opening displacement for cracked configurations. This work provides revised η-factors derived from CMOD records applicable to estimate the J-integral and CTOD in SE(B) specimens with varying crack size and specimen configuration. Non-linear finite element analyses for plane-strain and 3-D models provide the evolution of load with increased CMOD which is required for the estimation procedure. The analysis matrix considers SE(B) specimens with W = 2B and W = B configurations with and without side grooves covering a wide range of specimen thickness, including precracked Charpy (PCVN) specimens. Overall, the present results provide further validation of the J and CTOD evaluation procedure currently adopted by ASTM 1820 while, at the same time, giving improved estimation equations for J incorporating 3-D effects which enter directly into more accurate testing protocols for experimental measurements of fracture toughness values using 3P SE(B) specimens.

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