Advanced Program in Fracture Mechanics

Advanced Program in Fracture Mechanics

Oil and gas pipelines around the world are ageing, and one of the effects of ageing is the occurrence and growth of defects such as corrosion and cracks. These defects can be assessed using ‘fracture mechanics’ methods: indeed, new (2020) federal regulations in the USA require pipeline operators to assess the significance of cracks in their pipelines using fracture mechanics. Few pipeline engineering staff are even familiar with fracture mechanics, and there is a need to give all pipeline integrity staff a through grounding and understanding of fracture mechanics. A fracture mechanics learning program has been developed to help staff gain this understanding. It is emphasised that this is not a simple training course – it is a learning program which starts with the basics and history of fracture mechanics, and takes the individual through the many aspects of the fracture and fatigue assessment of defects in pipelines.

Your course at a glance


Course Availability

Available 24/7



Estimated 3 - 4 months



Blended learning



Foundation level


Competency Standards

Satisfies the requirement for Fracture Mechanics CS032F


What you will get

Certificate of completion, plus
Continued Professional Development hours

Who should take the program?

The learning program is aimed at pipeline integrity engineers who are involved with the inspection, assessment, or repair of pipeline defects.

What is the course format?

The program is online, on-demand course that is designed to be completed within 3 - 4 months, however you will have access for 12 months from purchase date. The learning will include:

  • Preparatory Learning Material including 7 selected e-learns: Pipeline Defect Assessment CS020A, Stress Analysis CS030A, Fracture Mechanics CS032A, Failure Modes and Mechanisms CS042A, Pipeline Defects CS048A.
  • Recommended reading Failure Analysis CS033
  • On-demand presentations
  • Learning activities
  • Communities
  • Workshops
  • We offer one-to-one 45 minute mentoring session with Dr Phil Hopkins. For groups we can offer a total of 4 hours arranged per client needs (for instance 2 x 2 hour sessions)
  • Post-School
  • Optional Assessment

What are the course outcomes?

When you successfully complete this program will be able to explain the history of fracture mechanics, its principles, models (elastic, elastic-plastic, and plastic), defining the best assessment methods using fracture mechanics, and define and distinguish between the traditional approach to fatigue assessment, and the fracture mechanics approach to fatigue assessment. You will also be able to define and describe fracture and fatigue analyses, and produce predictions, under supervision. What's next once you've completed the course? Head to CERTivation!

What will you learn?

  • Quantitative and qualitative toughness, and interpreting fracture toughness (Kmat) from Charpy and toughness data, using standard correlations;
  • Fracture toughness testing;
  • Identifying primary and secondary stresses, toughness, and other inputs to a fracture analysis;
  • Stress fields at crack tips, and elastic-plastic fracture using K, J, or CTOD approaches. Relationship between K, J and CTOD;
  • Failure assessment diagrams (FADs) for fracture and collapse;
  • Choice of FAD, inclusion of residual stress, effects of pressure testing, and post weld heat treatment (PWHT) on inputs;
  • Conducting fatigue analyses by S-N or fracture mechanics methods, including environmental effects and cycle counting of data;
  • Use of assessment codes – BS 7910, API 579 - and other approaches (e.g., CorLAS, PAFFC, LEFM).
  • Use of commercial ECA software packages for routine analyses; Case studies in fracture mechanics and defect assessment;
  • Assessment of environmental cracking; and, Interpretation of pipeline data, such as design and service records, pipe stress analysis output, and SCADA data, and deriving inputs for fracture and fatigue analyses.

Meet your subject matter expert


Dr Phil Hopkins

Dr. Phil Hopkins, an independent consultant based in the UK, developed all content for this program. Dr Hopkins has held a number of senior management and executive positions in the oil and gas business, and combines this high level management expertise with over 35 years engineering experience in transmission pipelines, including work on pipeline engineering, damage, safety, risk, integrity, surveillance, inspection and maintenance, and repair.