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1.1 Introduction to Fracture Mechanics:

Through the ages the application of the material in engineering design as posed
difficult problem to mankind. The unsatisfactory behaviour of the structures build from this
materials and their unexpected failure become a matter of great concern. The failure all
welded design even at low stresses made its investigation even more prudent. It was proved
beyond doubt that stress concentrations around the pre existing flaws were the major reason
for crack appearance and their ultimate failure.
More so over in recent times with use of the high strength materials in which the
permitted safety factors are reduced for weight reduction, service stresses (sometimes with
aid of aggressive environment) were high enough to induce the crack particularly when the
flaws existed. This not only reduces the residual strength of the material but also its
reliability. Structures build from this high strength materials failed even before highest
service load thus the reliable determination of development of local stresses around the
existing flaws led to development of cracks more prudent. The occurrence of low stress
fracture in high strength materials induce the
development of fracture mechanics
1.2 Study of crack pattern:

Cracks in structures, if existed in materials would

grow with time due to application of repeated load
or due to combination of load and environmental
• Longer the crack higher the stress
concentration induced in it.
• The rate of stress propagation will
increase with time
Introduction Chapter 1

• Residual strength of structure will reduce progressively with increasing size of the
• After a certain time the residual
strength will become so low that it
cannot withstand accidental high
load. At this point in can be said that
the strength of the structure has
reduced to extent that it can be
declared as a failure
• In such cases where accidental high
load doesn’t occur the crack will
continue to grow until residual
strength so low that the fracture
occurs under normal service load.

Many structures are designed to carry service load that are high enough to initiate the
crack particularly when the pre exiting flaws or stress concentration is present. Since the
designer has little control over the flaws during production, anticipation has to be made
regarding possibility where cracking will occur and where structure will be left with weak
residual strength. In this regard designer has to take some risks in anticipation of a point
where the structure will fail and therefore he has to design the structure where the probability
of its failure during the entire life span is at an acceptable low level. In order to ensure safety
the designer has to predict t\how fast the crack will grow, and how fast the residual strength
will decrease. Making this prediction and developing a prediction method is what could be
the ultimate aim of this experiment.