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Fracture Mechanics -- HW2

(Due date: Fec 16, 2016; 100 points total)

1. (20 pts) Read part 4 (experimental verification) of Griffths original paper
(available on canvas) and answer the following questions.
(a) What is surface tension? How is it measured experimentally? How does it
depend on temperature?
(b) From the results in Table II and III, what are the main conclusions? How
does fracture depend on stress and defect size? Which equation is verified
from these experiments?
surface tension:
When Materials are considered as a bulk, atoms are evenly surrounded (without
considering defects) and the cohesive forces between the atoms tend to balance
among each other. However, on the surface atoms do not have neighbors on the
sides (free surface). As a result, there is a net inward cohesive force, which creates
a force on the surface that tries to minimize its area. When such summation is
contemplated as a force is called "surface tension.
How is it measured experimentally?
When a crack body is subjected to tensile forces, it forms a "double cantilever"
beam. The work done by the applied force is equal to the potential energy of the
"leaf springs" and the surface energy. Solving for the surface energy it yields.:

Where E= Young's modulus lengths x, y and d, are shown in the above picture
How does it depend on temperature?

As temperature increases, atoms go into a vibration with higher amplitudes. This

lowers the cohesive force between atoms, since it depends on the inverse of the
distance between them.
The surface energy depends on the sum total of forces pulling (from inside the
body). So surface energy decreases with increasing temperature.
The following table shows the comparison between Crack Length vs Diameter for
spheres and tubes as reported by A. A. Griffith. It can be seen that larger bodies
exhibit longer cracks.

Crack Length vs Diameter (Griffith, 1921)


2C [mm] 0.25 Sphere












D [mm]

Figure 1.
2. (20 points) The distance between point A and B is increased from L 0 to L0 +
2 when opposing loads P are applied (see Figure 2(a)), load-deflection (P-)
curves for the specimen for crack lengths a and a + a (a << a) are shown
in Figure 2(b) by straight lines OB and OC, respectively. Express in terms of
different areas of Figure 2(b) the following parameters:
(a) The strain energy stored in the material with crack length a, load P, and
deflection .
(b) If the crack length is increased from a to a + a, keeping P fixed, which area
does represent the change in strain energy in the material? Does it give an
increase or decrease in the strain energy?
(c) If the crack length is increased a to a + a, keeping fixed, which area does
represent the change in strain energy in the material? Does it give an
increase or decrease in the strain energy?
(d) What is the change in the potential energy for case (b) and (c)?
Does the potential energy increase or decrease in case (b) and (c)?


Figure 2(a)


On the provided figure, the line ABC represents a loading case with constant
force (i.e. a mass hanging), whereas the line BDF represents a loading case
with constant displacement. In both cases the energy (U) is the same. This is
proven because in both loading cases the triangle BCF has the same area.
That triangle is the extra energy (U) used by either method the resulting
crack grows .

Figure 2 (a). Load control

Figure 2 (b).Displacement control

Remembering that energy equals force times displacement (divided by two):

In figure 2. For the case of load control (2a), a crack extension da results in a
net increase in strain energy because of the contribution of the external force
dU PPd- Pd/2= Pd/2
When displacement is fixed, dF = 0 and the strain energy decreases:
dU dP/2
where dP is negative. As can be seen in Figure Figure 2 (a). and Figure 2 (b).
the values (absolute actually) of these energies differ by dPd/2, which is
negligible. Therefore:
(dU) P = -(dU)

Proving that the area of triangle BCF is equal in both loading cases.

3. (20 points) As a failure expert, you have been called to resolve a dispute
between a customer and the manufacturer of a crane hook that failed in
service. The customer contends that the hook failed because of a flaw and
offers as proof the fact that the fracture surface of the failed part has an
obvious crack with an area of 2.3 cm 2(see Figure 3(a)). The manufacturer
counters that damage tolerant design concepts were used in the design of
the hook, and a crack of this size would not lead to failure. The manufacturer
counterclaims that the customer exceeded the maximum load rating of the
hook of 18 kN. To aid in the analysis, you conduct compliance tests with
machined flaws of 2 and 2.6 cm2. The rest results are shown in Figure 3(b).
The hook is made of steel (E = 207 GPa and Poissons ratio v =0.29) and has
a plane-strain fracture toughness of 44 MPam. Using this information, who is
correct? Justify your answer. (Hint: from the experiments, estimate the
fracture stress for crack area of 2.3 cm2 and compare it with 18 kN.)

Figure 3 (a) Cartoon of hook, (b) Load-deflection curve for two flaws.

4. (20 points) (a) Determine the energy release rate for the following beam. The
beam is made from copper, total specimen thickness B = 1 m, h = 5 cm, a =
15 cm. The applied load P = 10 kN.
(b) Evaluate the relative stability of this beam under load control and
displacement control.

5. (20 pts) Take a long piece of chalk or any cylindrical brittle material and make
three surface cracks with a razor blade as shown below. All cracks should
have same length and depth. Position them as far as possible from one
another so that there is no interaction effect.

(a) If a torque T is applied to the chalk as shown, identify the stress mode (I,
II, III, or mixed) for each crack.
(b) Which is the critical crack for this applied load-in other words, which crack
will fail first and why? Break the chalk and see whether your prediction is
right or wrong.
The applied torque creates shear Stresses. They are the highest at a 45 o from the
perpendicular plane.
Mode I: It is not present
Mode II: Creates the crack that produces failure
Mode III: Not present

The following pictures (see reference) show a tube loaded in alternating torsion. IT
can be seen the 45o cracks (1-3) or 2-4 for the torque actuating in opposite

Hos, Y., Freire, J. L., & Vormwald, M. (2015). Measurement and simulation of strain fields around crack tips under
mixed-mode fatigue loading. Frattura Ed Integrit Strutturale, 33, 4255.

The chalk experiment was done as shown below

The surface crack is at approximate 45o as predicted by theory.