© 2011 CAE Associates

Fat i gue Cr ack
Pr opagat i on
Anal ysi s i n ANSYS
2
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 Fatigue crack formation analysis predicts cycles to failure based purely on
material data of fatigue specimens.
— Even though the total fatigue life includes the growth of cracks, cracks are not
explicitly modeled.

 Fatigue performance of structures is more accurately described as follows:
— The presence of stress risers such as holes, manufacturing errors, corrosion
pits, and maintenance damage serve as nucleation sites for fatigue cracking.
— During service, sub-critical cracks nucleate from these sites and grow until
catastrophic failure, i.e. unstable crack growth, occurs.
— From an economic point of view, a costly component cannot be retired from
service simply on detecting a fatigue crack.
— Hence, reliable estimation of fatigue crack propagation and residual life
prediction, combined with inspections, are essential so that the component can
be timely serviced or replaced.

3
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 Fatigue crack growth is performed by combining linear elastic fracture
mechanics and fatigue.
— In this approach, an initial crack size and location is considered, and life is
based on the growth of the crack until unstable crack growth occurs.


4
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 Two main approaches for modeling crack growth:

— Fatigue crack growth codes.
• Use stresses from un-cracked structure ANSYS analysis.
• Perform crack growth calculations assuming a crack geometry (library of standard
stress intensity functions) and crack growth law.

— Crack modeled directly in finite element analysis.
• Include a crack in the finite element model, and perform a series of solutions to find
the stress intensity factors as the crack grows through the model.
• Then use this data and a fatigue crack growth law to predict cycles until failure.
• Most difficult and time-consuming approach, since the path of the crack may not be
known ahead of time, changes to the mesh must be made, multiple analyses are
required, etc.

 In either case, the stresses near the crack are used to calculate the stress
intensity factor, K.

5
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 Determining if a crack will propagate under given loading conditions is
answered using linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM).
— The stresses near the tip of the crack tend to infinity based on the theory of
elasticity.
— By deriving the forms of these infinite stresses, the strength and order of the
singularity are found.
— The strength of the singularity, called the stress intensity factor K, is used to
determine the behavior of the crack.


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sin
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sin
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sin 1
2
cos
2
2
3
sin
2
sin 1
2
cos
2
θ θ θ
π
σ
θ θ θ
π
σ
θ θ θ
π
σ
r
K
r
K
r
K
I
xy
I
yy
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xx
6
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 K is based on the crack geometry and applied cyclic loading:

) , 2 / ( :
/ 12 . 1
σ
π σ
c a f Q where
Q a K
I
=
=
Through t hickness crack Edge crack Surface ( t humbnail) crack
a
c 2
Dependence of flaw
shape paramet er Q on
t he rat io of dept h t o
widt h of surface crack.
7
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 There are three basic modes of
crack surface displacement:
— Mode I: Opening
— Mode II: In-plane shear.
— Mode III: Out-of-plane shear.

 Solutions for K exist for all modes,
and K
I
, K
II
and K
III
can be calculated
in ANSYS, but it is typical to
assume that K
I
is the dominant
parameter.



8
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 When K
I
reaches some critical value, the part will fail.

 Critical value of K
I
, called the fracture toughness or K
IC
, is obtained from a
controlled test of specimens.

 Fracture toughness, K
IC
:
— Is an indication of the amount of stress required to propagate a pre-existing
flaw.
— Is a measured material property.
— Can vary as a function of:
• Thickness
• Temperature
• Yield stress
9
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 There are a number of calculated fracture mechanics parameters used to
describe or predict crack response:
— All of these parameters can be related to one another, assuming a crack in a
linear elastic isotropic single material.

— K
I
– Stress intensity parameter
— COD – Crack opening displacement
• Measurement of crack opening some distance from the crack tip.
— CTOD – Crack tip opening displacement
• Crack tip measurement based on plastic zone and root radius of crack.
— G – Strain energy release rate
• The rate of transfer of energy from the elastic stress field of the cracked structure to
the inelastic process of crack extension.
— J – J integral
• Path-independent line integral used to solve crack problems in the presence of
plastic deformation.
10
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 Fracture parameters can be determined:
— Using derived expressions for idealized crack geometries, found by selecting
the crack geometry from a library within nCode.
— By including the crack in ANSYS model and using one of the available
methods:
• Stress intensity factors directly via special crack tip elements (K).
• J-integral (J).
• Energy release rate (G).
— Assuming linear elastic single material, plane strain formulation, these
parameters are related:
( )
E
K
G J
I
2
2
1 ν −
= =
11
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 Stress intensity factors directly via special crack tip elements (K).
— Midside nodes moved to quarter point location to provide shape function with
correct order of singularity.
— Linear elastic materials only.

 J-integral (J).
— The nonlinear energy release rate, J, can be written as a path-independent line
integral.
— Calculated by defining paths around crack tip (path creation automated in
ANSYS).
— J uniquely characterizes crack tip stress and strain in nonlinear materials.

 Energy release rate (G).
— Measure of the energy available for an increment of crack extension.
— Uses the virtual crack closure technique (VCCT).
— Can use along interface between materials, i.e. delamination.
— Automated crack growth procedure coming in version 14.
12
Numer i cal Met hods
 Demonstration problem:
— Prediction and comparison of K
I
of compact specimen using the following
methods:
• Hand calculation.
• ANSYS special crack tip elements.
• ANSYS J-integral method.


13
Numer i cal Met hods
 Demonstration problem: Hand calculation.
— From fracture mechanics text, K
I
for a compact specimen is given as:


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4 3 2
2
3
60 . 5 72 . 14 32 . 13 64 . 4 886 . 0
1
2
W
a
W
a
W
a
W
a
W
a
W
a
W
a
f
P
W B K
W
a
f
I
1.25 W
B = 1 in
a = 1 in
W = 2 in
P = 33. 3 lb
K
I
= 227. 7 psi- in
1/ 2
14
Numer i cal Met hods
 Demonstration problem: ANSYS special crack tip elements.
— 2D plane strain mesh.
— KSCON command used to automatically create local crack tip mesh with
quarter-point nodes.
— Half specimen modeled using symmetry boundary conditions.

Crack t ip
Crack face
15
Numer i cal Met hods
 Demonstration problem: ANSYS special crack tip elements.
— KCALC command used with quarter-point elements to determine K
I
.

K
I
= 225. 6 psi- in
1/ 2
16
Numer i cal Met hods
 Demonstration problem: ANSYS J-integral method.
— CINT commands used to define crack tip node and request number of
contours to use (10).
— Same model as before, but special crack tip elements are not required.
— Paths are created automatically around the crack tip, using the next available
row of elements.

Pat h 7 of 10
Crack t ip
Crack face
17
Numer i cal Met hods
 Demonstration problem: ANSYS J-integral method.
— Printed J-integral values for 10 contours:





— Plotted J-integral values for 10 contours:

J = 0. 00154 lb/ in

18
Numer i cal Met hods
 Demonstration problem: ANSYS J-integral method.
— Relating J and K
I
for plane strain, assuming no plasticity:

( )
E
K
J
I
2
2
1 ν −
=
K
I
= 225.3 psi- in
1/ 2
J = 0.00154 lb/ in
E = 30 x 10
6
psi
ν = 0.3

19
Li near El ast i c Fr act ur e Mechani cs
 The fatigue crack growth procedure:
— Obtain ∆K from crack geometry and cyclic loading definition.
• Either using library or calculating directly in ANSYS.
— Calculate the change in the length of the crack per cycle using a crack growth
law.



 The damage tolerant procedure:
— Inspections to determine current crack sizes and locations.
— Finite element analysis to determine stress and/or K.
— Crack growth code to determine remaining cycles to failure.
— Use life prediction to set inspection interval, at which time the procedure is
repeated.

( )
n
K C
dN
da
∆ =
20
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 There are many different crack growth laws currently used in industry.
— No single universally-accepted method exists; each has its own capabilities
and limitations.
— All use a differential equation to describe the crack growth rate (da/dN) as a
function of the stress intensity factor range at the crack tip (∆K).
— The first and most basic relationship is the Paris power law [1963], which
describes the linear region in the log-log plot below:





( )
n
K C
dN
da
∆ =
21
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 The crack growth module in nCode will accept the following laws:
— BasicParis - Walker
— Austen - InterpolatedRAE
— Forman - InterpolatedForman
— NASGRO3 - MarshallsSentry

 Built-in stress intensity factor library contains most common idealized
crack geometries, such as the single edge crack in tension.
— Or can supply K vs. crack length data directly from finite element analysis.


22
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 nCode crack growth analysis steps:


Spectrum loading defined
using a CSV file, or from
files containing more
general load data.
23
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 nCode crack growth analysis steps:


Select crack growth law,
crack geometry, and
material property.
NASGRO3 material library, obtained from AFGROW, is
available. Can create user-defined materials via
Material Manager or directly creating XML file.
Results shown
graphically or
in tabular form.
24
Fat i gue Cr ack Gr ow t h
 nCode crack growth analysis demonstration problem.: