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Chapter 8: Mechanical Failure

How do flaws in a material initiate failure?
How is fracture resistance quantified; how do different
material classes compare?
How do we estimate the stress to fracture?
How do loading rate, loading history, and temperature
affect the failure stress?

Ship-cyclic loading Computer chip-cyclic Hip implant-cyclic

from waves. thermal loading. loading from walking.
Adapted from chapter-opening Adapted from Fig. 22.30(b), Callister 7e. Adapted from Fig. 22.26(b),
photograph, Chapter 8, Callister 7e. (by (Fig. 22.30(b) is courtesy of National Callister 7e.
Neil Boenzi, The New York Times.) Semiconductor Corporation.)
Chapter 8 - 1
Fracture mechanisms
Ductile fracture
Occurs with plastic deformation
Brittle fracture
Little or no plastic deformation

Chapter 8 - 2
Ductile vs Brittle Failure
Fracture Very Moderately
behavior: Ductile Ductile

Adapted from Fig. 8.1,

Callister 7e.

%AR or %EL Large Moderate Small

Ductile Ductile: Brittle:
fracture is usually warning before No
desirable! fracture warning

Chapter 8 - 3
Example: Failure of a Pipe
Ductile failure:
--one piece
--large deformation

Brittle failure:
--many pieces
--small deformation

Figures from V.J. Colangelo and F.A.

Heiser, Analysis of Metallurgical Failures
(2nd ed.), Fig. 4.1(a) and (b), p. 66 John
Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1987. Used with

Chapter 8 - 4
Moderately Ductile Failure
Evolution to failure:
void void growth shearing
necking and linkage fracture
nucleation at surface

Resulting 50
100 mm
particles From V.J. Colangelo and F.A. Heiser, Fracture surface of tire cord wire
serve as void Analysis of Metallurgical Failures (2nd loaded in tension. Courtesy of F.
ed.), Fig. 11.28, p. 294, John Wiley and Roehrig, CC Technologies, Dublin,
nucleation Sons, Inc., 1987. (Orig. source: P. OH. Used with permission.
sites. Thornton, J. Mater. Sci., Vol. 6, 1971, pp.
347-56.) Chapter 8 - 5
Ductile vs. Brittle Failure

cup-and-cone fracture brittle fracture

Adapted from Fig. 8.3, Callister 7e.

Chapter 8 - 6
Brittle Failure
Arrows indicate pt at which failure originated

Adapted from Fig. 8.5(a), Callister 7e.

Chapter 8 - 7
Brittle Fracture Surfaces
Intergranular Intragranular
(between grains) 304 S. Steel (within grains)
(metal) 316 S. Steel
Reprinted w/permission (metal)
from "Metals Handbook", Reprinted w/ permission
9th ed, Fig. 633, p. 650. from "Metals Handbook",
Copyright 1985, ASM 9th ed, Fig. 650, p. 357.
International, Materials Copyright 1985, ASM
Park, OH. (Micrograph by International, Materials
J.R. Keiser and A.R. Park, OH. (Micrograph by
Olsen, Oak Ridge D.R. Diercks, Argonne
National Lab.)
160 mm
4 mm National Lab.)

Polypropylene Al Oxide
(polymer) (ceramic)
Reprinted w/ permission Reprinted w/ permission
from R.W. Hertzberg, from "Failure Analysis of
"Defor-mation and Brittle Materials", p. 78.
Fracture Mechanics of Copyright 1990, The
Engineering Materials", American Ceramic
(4th ed.) Fig. 7.35(d), p. Society, Westerville, OH.
303, John Wiley and (Micrograph by R.M.
Sons, Inc., 1996. Gruver and H. Kirchner.)
3 mm
1 mm
(Orig. source: K. Friedrick, Fracture 1977, Vol. Chapter 8 - 8
3, ICF4, Waterloo, CA, 1977, p. 1119.)
Ideal vs Real Materials
Stress-strain behavior (Room T):
s perfect matl-no flaws
E/10 TSengineering << TS perfect
materials materials
carefully produced glass fiber

E/100 typical ceramic typical strengthened metal

typical polymer
0.1 e
DaVinci (500 yrs ago!) observed... Reprinted w/
permission from R.W.
-- the longer the wire, the "Deformation and
smaller the load for failure. Fracture Mechanics
of Engineering
Reasons: Materials", (4th ed.)
Fig. 7.4. John Wiley
-- flaws cause premature failure. and Sons, Inc., 1996.

-- Larger samples contain more flaws!

Chapter 8 - 9
Flaws are Stress Concentrators!
Results from crack propagation
Griffith Crack
1/ 2
sm 2so K t so

t where
t = radius of curvature
so = applied stress
sm = stress at crack tip

Adapted from Fig. 8.8(a), Callister 7e.

Chapter 8 - 10
Concentration of Stress at Crack Tip

Adapted from Fig. 8.8(b), Callister 7e.

Chapter 8 - 11
Engineering Fracture Design
Avoid sharp corners!
so s
Stress Conc. Factor, K t = s
swmax 2.5
r, h
fillet 2.0 increasing w/h
Adapted from Fig. 1.5
8.2W(c), Callister 6e.
(Fig. 8.2W(c) is from G.H.
Neugebauer, Prod. Eng.
(NY), Vol. 14, pp. 82-87
1.0 r/h
0 0.5 1.0
sharper fillet radius
Chapter 8 - 12
Crack Propagation
Cracks propagate due to sharpness of crack tip
A plastic material deforms at the tip, blunting the
brittle plastic

Energy balance on the crack

Elastic strain energy-
energy stored in material as it is elastically deformed
this energy is released when the crack propagates
creation of new surfaces requires energy

Chapter 8 - 13
When Does a Crack Propagate?
Crack propagates if above critical stress
1/ 2
i.e., sm > sc 2E s
or Kt > Kc a
E = modulus of elasticity
s = specific surface energy
a = one half length of internal crack
Kc = sc/s0

For ductile => replace s by s + p

where p is plastic deformation energy
Chapter 8 - 14
Fracture Toughness
Metals/ Composites/
Ceramics/ Polymers
Alloys fibers
C-C (|| fibers) 1
70 Steels
60 Ti alloys
Al alloys
30 Mg alloys Based on data in Table B5,
K Ic (MPa m0.5 )

Callister 7e.
20 Composite reinforcement geometry is: f
Al/Al oxide(sf) 2 = fibers; sf = short fibers; w = whiskers;
Y2 O 3 /ZrO 2 (p) 4 p = particles. Addition data as noted
10 C/C( fibers) 1 (vol. fraction of reinforcement):
Al oxid/SiC(w) 3 1. (55vol%) ASM Handbook, Vol. 21, ASM Int.,
Diamond Si nitr/SiC(w) 5 Materials Park, OH (2001) p. 606.
7 Al oxid/ZrO 2 (p) 4 2. (55 vol%) Courtesy J. Cornie, MMC, Inc.,
6 Si carbide Glass/SiC(w) 6 Waltham, MA.
5 Al oxide PET 3. (30 vol%) P.F. Becher et al., Fracture
4 Si nitride Mechanics of Ceramics, Vol. 7, Plenum Press
PP (1986). pp. 61-73.
3 PVC 4. Courtesy CoorsTek, Golden, CO.
5. (30 vol%) S.T. Buljan et al., "Development of
2 PC Ceramic Matrix Composites for Application in
Technology for Advanced Engines Program",
ORNL/Sub/85-22011/2, ORNL, 1992.
6. (20vol%) F.D. Gace et al., Ceram. Eng. Sci.
Proc., Vol. 7 (1986) pp. 978-82.
1 <100>
Si crystal PS Glass 6
0.7 Glass -soda
0.6 Polyester
Concrete Chapter 8 - 15
Design Against Crack Growth
Crack growth condition:
K Kc = Ys a
Largest, most stressed cracks grow first!
--Result 1: Max. flaw size --Result 2: Design stress
dictates design stress. dictates max. flaw size.
Kc 1 K c
s design amax
Y amax Ysdesign
fracture fracture
no no
fracture amax fracture s
Chapter 8 - 16
Design Example: Aircraft Wing
Material has Kc = 26 MPa-m0.5
Two designs to consider...
Design A Design B
--largest flaw is 9 mm --use same material
--failure stress = 112 MPa --largest flaw is 4 mm
Kc --failure stress = ?
Use... sc
Y amax
Key point: Y and Kc are the same in both designs.
112 MPa 9 mm 4 mm

sc amax A sc amax B
Answer: (sc )B 168 MPa
Reducing flaw size pays off!
Chapter 8 - 17
Loading Rate

Increased loading rate... Why? An increased rate

-- increases sy and TS gives less time for
-- decreases %EL dislocations to move past
TS e
sy larger

Chapter 8 - 18
Impact Testing
Impact loading: (Charpy)
-- severe testing case
-- makes material more brittle
-- decreases toughness
Adapted from Fig. 8.12(b),
Callister 7e. (Fig. 8.12(b) is
adapted from H.W. Hayden,
W.G. Moffatt, and J. Wulff, The
Structure and Properties of
Materials, Vol. III, Mechanical
Behavior, John Wiley and Sons,
Inc. (1965) p. 13.)

final height initial height

Chapter 8 - 19
Increasing temperature...
--increases %EL and Kc
Ductile-to-Brittle Transition Temperature (DBTT)...

FCC metals (e.g., Cu, Ni)

Impact Energy

BCC metals (e.g., iron at T < 914C)

Brittle More Ductile

High strength materials ( s y > E/150)

Adapted from Fig. 8.15,

Callister 7e.
transition temperature
Chapter 8 - 20
Design Strategy:
Stay Above The DBTT!
Pre-WWII: The Titanic WWII: Liberty ships

Reprinted w/ permission from R.W. Hertzberg, Reprinted w/ permission from R.W. Hertzberg,
"Deformation and Fracture Mechanics of Engineering "Deformation and Fracture Mechanics of Engineering
Materials", (4th ed.) Fig. 7.1(a), p. 262, John Wiley and Materials", (4th ed.) Fig. 7.1(b), p. 262, John Wiley and
Sons, Inc., 1996. (Orig. source: Dr. Robert D. Ballard, Sons, Inc., 1996. (Orig. source: Earl R. Parker,
The Discovery of the Titanic.) "Behavior of Engineering Structures", Nat. Acad. Sci.,
Nat. Res. Council, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., NY,

Problem: Used a type of steel with a DBTT ~ Room temp.

Chapter 8 - 21
Fatigue = failure under cyclic stress.
specimen compression on top Adapted from Fig. 8.18,
Callister 7e. (Fig. 8.18 is
motor from Materials Science in
bearing bearing counter
Engineering, 4/E by Carl.
A. Keyser, Pearson
flex coupling Education, Inc., Upper
tension on bottom Saddle River, NJ.)

Stress varies with time. s

-- key parameters are S, sm, and
sm S
smin time

Key points: Fatigue...

--can cause part failure, even though smax < sc.
--causes ~ 90% of mechanical engineering failures.
Chapter 8 - 22
Physical Mechanisms of Fatigue
Step 1. Crack initiation.
Even if the stresses are below the yield strength
in most of the part, there are stress
concentrations where the material may yield in a
very small region. After many cycles of repeated
yielding, a small crack will appear. (very similar
to the paper clip),

Examples of stress concentrations:

scratches, machining grooves, or defects on
the surface;
defects in the material (holes, dirt particles,
Chapter 8 - 23
brittle phases)
Physical Mechanisms of Fatigue
Step 2. Crack propagation
After a crack exists, it will grow a little each time a
load is applied.

1. 2. 2.

Chapter 8 - 24
Physical Mechanisms of Fatigue
Step 3. Fracture
After the crack reaches the critical length, the load
will exceed the fracture toughness of the material, and
the part fails by brittle fracture.
1. 2. 2. 3.

Step 4. Call your lawyer.

Chapter 8 - 25
Fatigue Mechanism
Crack grows incrementally
typ. 1 to 6

~ s a
increase in crack length per loading cycle
crack origin
Failed rotating shaft
--crack grew even though
Kmax < Kc
--crack grows faster as
s increases Adapted from
Fig. 8.21, Callister 7e.
crack gets longer (Fig. 8.21 is from D.J.
loading freq. increases. Wulpi, Understanding
How Components Fail,
American Society for
Metals, Materials Park,
OH, 1985.)

Chapter 8 - 26
Fatigue failure can usually be identified by
looking at the fracture surface. crack initiated
crack propagated
until here, then the
part broke.

rapid brittle fracture

Chapter 8 - 27
Example: Looking down the length of a round shaft

what it looks like


Chapter 8 - 28
S-N Curve
By doing tests at different stress amplitudes, and
finding out the fatigue life at that stress
amplitude, we can develop a stress-life curve,
usually called an S-N curve.

Chapter 8 - 29
Fatigue limit, Sfat:
--no fatigue if S < Sfat

Sometimes, the
fatigue limit is zero! S = stress amplitude
case for
unsafe Al (typ.)


10 3 10 5 10 7 10 9
N = Cycles to failure
Chapter 8 - 30
Fatigue Design Parameters
Fatigue limit, Sfat: S = stress amplitude
case for
--no fatigue if S < Sfat unsafe steel (typ.)

Adapted from Fig.
8.19(a), Callister 7e.

10 3 10 5 10 7 10 9
N = Cycles to failure
Sometimes, the
fatigue limit is zero! S = stress amplitude
case for
unsafe Al (typ.)

safe Adapted from Fig.

8.19(b), Callister 7e.

10 3 10 5 10 7 10 9
N = Cycles to failure
Chapter 8 - 31
What affects fatigue life?

1. Strength. In general, increasing the yield

strength of a material increases its fatigue

2. Ductility and toughness. Increasing these

properties makes it harder to initiate cracks, and
delays the onset of brittle fracture.

3. Loading and part design. Keep the cyclic

stresses low, keep the mean stresses low, and
avoid sharp stress concentrations. (this is why
airplane windows have round corners and bolts
have smooth fillets.) Chapter 8 - 32
What affects fatigue life?
4. Surface finish. Most fatigue cracks initiate on the
surface of parts. Improving the surface finish (by
polishing or smooth grinding, for example) delays
crack initiation.

Alternating stress, ksi

a structural
steel gentle grind
severe grind
104 105 106 107
Cycles to failure
Chapter 8 - 33
What affects fatigue life?
5. Surface strength and residual stresses. Since
most fatigue cracks initiate on the surface,
increasing surface strength (by carburizing or
shot peening) can improve fatigue life.

Alternating stress, ksi
shot peening: severe grind +
blast the surface with
shot peen
a spray of small, hard steel
balls. cold works the
surface and leaves gentle grind
beneficial compressive severe grind
residual stresses 40
104 105 106 107
Cycles to failure
Chapter 8 - 34
Improving Fatigue Life
1. Impose a compressive S = stress amplitude
Adapted from
surface stress Fig. 8.24, Callister 7e.

(to suppress surface Increasing

near zero or compressive sm
cracks from growing) sm moderate tensile sm
Larger tensile sm

N = Cycles to failure

--Method 1: shot peening --Method 2: carburizing

C-rich gas

2. Remove stress bad better

concentrators. Adapted from
Fig. 8.25, Callister 7e.
bad better
Chapter 8 - 35
At high temperatures (or very long times),
materials can creep.

Creep means very slow deformation under

constant load, which is below the yield strength.

Common examples:
1. Stick something light to the end of a piece of
elongated chewing gum or silly putty. Hold it up
and watch the putty or gum get slowly longer.
2. The waves you see in really old glass windows
occurred due to creep (very slow shape change.)

Chapter 8 - 36
Sample deformation at a constant stress (s) vs. time

0 t

Primary Creep: slope (creep rate)

decreases with time.
Secondary Creep: steady-state
i.e., constant slope.
Adapted from
Fig. 8.28, Callister 7e.
Tertiary Creep: slope (creep rate)
increases with time, i.e. acceleration of rate. Chapter 8 - 37
Occurs at elevated temperature, T > 0.4 Tmelt
Deformation changes with time.

Chapter 8 - 38
Metals and ceramics:
Usually dont need to worry about creep unless
the operating temperature is above about half the
melting temperature in degrees Kelvin.

Many polymers creep at room temperature.

Chapter 8 - 39
Higher temperatures or stresses increase creep
Creep can lead to fracture (x in the figure)
The fracture time decreases with increasing
temperature and stress

Chapter 8 - 40
Secondary Creep
Strain rate is constant at a given T, s
-- strain hardening is balanced by recovery
stress exponent (material parameter)
e s K 2s exp
activation energy for creep
strain rate RT (material parameter)
material const. applied stress

Strain rate 2 00 Stress (MPa) Adapted from

Fig. 8.31, Callister 7e.
427C (Fig. 8.31 is from Metals
increases 10 0 Handbook: Properties
538 C and Selection:
for higher T, s 40 Stainless Steels, Tool
Materials, and Special
Purpose Metals, Vol. 3,
649 C 9th ed., D. Benjamin
(Senior Ed.), American
10 Society for Metals,
1980, p. 131.)
10 -2 10 -1 1
Steady state creep rate es (%/1000hr)
Chapter 8 - 41
Creep Failure
Failure: Estimate rupture time
along grain boundaries. S-590 Iron, T = 800C, s = 20 ksi
g.b. cavities 100
Adapted from
Fig. 8.32, Callister 7e.
(Fig. 8.32 is from F.R.
Larson and J. Miller,

Stress, ksi
Trans. ASME, 74, 765
stress (1952).)

data for
From V.J. Colangelo and F.A. Heiser, Analysis of S-590 Iron
Metallurgical Failures (2nd ed.), Fig. 4.32, p. 87, John
Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1987. (Orig. source: Pergamon
12 16 20 24 28
Press, Inc.)
L(10 3 K-log hr) 24x103 K-log hr
Time to rupture, tr
T ( 20 logt r ) L T ( 20 logt r ) L
temperature function of 1073K
applied stress
time to failure (rupture) Ans: tr = 233 hr
Chapter 8 - 42
Engineering materials don't reach theoretical strength.
Flaws produce stress concentrations that cause
premature failure.
Sharp corners produce large stress concentrations
and premature failure.
Failure type depends on T and stress:
- for noncyclic s and T < 0.4Tm, failure stress decreases with:
- increased maximum flaw size,
- decreased T,
- increased rate of loading.
- for cyclic s:
- cycles to fail decreases as s increases.
- for higher T (T > 0.4Tm):
- time to fail decreases as s or T increases.
Chapter 8 - 43