Fracture Mechanics and NanoTechnology for Defence
Engineering applications of fracture mechanics
The following information is needed for a fracture mechanics prediction of failure:
Size and shape of the part
Size, shape, location, and orientation of the crack Usually not all of this information is available and conservative assumptions have to bemade. Occasionally post-mortem fracture-mechanics analyses are carried out. In the absenceof an extreme overload, the causes are either insufficient toughness (K
) or an excessivelylarge crack that was not detected during routine inspection.Arising from the manufacturing process, interior and surface flaws are found in all metalstructures. Not all such flaws are unstable under service conditions. Fracture mechanics is theanalysis of flaws to discover those that are safe (that is, do not grow) and those that are liableto propagate as cracks and so cause failure of the flawed structure. Fracture mechanics as asubject for critical study has barely been around for a century and thus is relatively new.
Griffith's crack theory: strain energy release rate
For the simple case of a thin rectangular plate with a crack perpendicular to the loadGriffith’s theory becomes:(1.1)where
is the strain energy release rate, σ is the applied stress,
is half the crack length, and
is theYoung’s modulus. The strain energy release rate can otherwise be understood as:
therate at which energy is absorbed by growth of the crack
.However, we also have that:(1.2)If
, this is the criterion for which the crack will begin to propagate.
Irwin's modified Griffith crack theory: fracture toughness
Eventually a modification of Griffith’s solids theory emerged from this work; a termcalledstress intensityreplaced strain energy release rate and a term called fracture toughnessreplaced surface weakness energy. Both of these terms are simply related to the energy termsthat Griffith used:(2.1)