Abstract This paper is complementary to the paper by Corten in reviewing the current status of fracture mechanics techniques, paying particular attention to application aspects. After summarising the reasons for applying fracture mechanics, the various approaches are summarised; the choice of appropriate method for components that show some yield before failure is described. Information needed to complete a full fracture mechanics treatment is tabulated, and examples of various applications given. Mention is made of current proposals for standard specifications based on fracture mechanics. Attention is drawn to where uncertainties may arise.