Determine if a given flaw is safe from brittle fracture, fatigue, creep or plastic collapse.
Engineering Critical Assessment (ECA)
An Engineering Critical Assessment (ECA) – also known as fracture analysis – is a fitness-for-service procedure that uses fracture mechanics principles to determine the defect tolerance of safety critical items.
When evaluating the integrity of structures such as pipelines and pressure vessels, platforms, rigs and wind turbines, an ECA enables the user to make informed and confident decisions on the most appropriate remedial measures to take.
An ECA is used to decide whether a given flaw is safe from brittle fracture, plastic collapse, fatigue crack growth or creep crack growth under specified loading conditions.
ECA can be used for the following:
During design, to assist in the choice of welding procedure and/or inspection techniques.
During fabrication, to assess:
The significance of known defects which are unacceptable to a given fabrication code; or
The maximum critical flaw size, minimum fracture toughness or maximum operating stresses
During operation, to assess flaws found in service and to make decisions as to whether they can safely remain, or whether down-rating, repair or replacement are necessary.