CONTENTS:
Similitude in fatigue
Empirical Fatigue Crack Growth Equations
Crack Closure Effect and Fatigue Threshold
Variable Amplitude Loading and Retardation
Fatigue Crack Growth of short cracks
Experimental Measurement of Fatigue Crack Growth
Damage Tolerance Design Methodology
SOURCE:
T. L. Anderson, Fracture Mechanics : Fundamentals and Applications, 2/e,
CRC Press, 1995.
One of the most successful applications of the theory of fracture mechanics is the
characterization of fatigue crack propagation  Suresh.
Fatigue Crack Propagation
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION : FRACTURE
MECHANICS APPROACH
So far, we have dealt with static or monotonic loading of cracked bodies.
Here, we consider crack growth in the presence of cyclic stresses. The
focus is on fatigue analysis of metals, but the concepts apply to other
materials too.
In the early 1960s, Paris demonstrated that Fracture Mechanics is a
useful tool for characterizing Fatigue Crack Growth (FCG). Since then,
the application of Fracture Mechanics to fatigue analysis has become
almost routine. There are, however, a number of controversial issues
and unanswered questions in this field.
The methods and procedures for the analysis of constant amplitude
fatigue under small scale yielding conditions at the crack tips are
fairly well established, although a number of uncertainties remain.
Variable amplitude loading, large scale plasticity and short cracks
introduce added complexities and are not fully understood.
We now present Fracture Mechanics Approach to Fatigue Crack
Propagation.
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION:
SIMILITUDE
Similitude implies that the crack tip conditions are uniquely
defined by a single parameter such as the SIF (K). In the case of
a stationary crack, two configurations will fail at the same
critical K value, provided an elastic singularity zone exists at
the crack tip. Under certain conditions, fatigue crack growth can
also be characterized by the SIF.
Consider crack growth in the presence of a constant amplitude
cyclic stress(Fig 10.1). A cyclic plastic zone develops at the
crack tip, and the growing crack leaves behind a plastic wake.
If the plastic zone size is sufficiently small that it is embedded
within an elastic singularity zone, the conditions at the crack
tip are uniquely defined by the current K values, and the crack
growth rate is characterized by K
min
and K
max
. It is convenient
to express the functional relationship for crack growth in the
form
 (1) ( ) R K f
dN
da
,
1
A =
where K = (K
max
K
min
)
R = K
min
/ K
max
and is the crack growth per cycle.
dN
da
Fig 10.1 Constant amplitude fatigue crack growth under small
scale yielding conditions
A number of expressions for f
1
have been proposed, most of which are
empirical!
Eqn. (1) can be integrated to estimate fatigue life. The number of
stress cycles N required to propagate a crack from an initial length, a
0
to a final length, a
f
is given by
 (2)
( )
}
A
f
a
a
R K f
da
0
,
1
If K
max
and K
min
vary during cyclic loading (variable amplitude loading),
the crack growth in a cycle may depend upon the loading
history as well as the current value of K
max
and K
min
da/dN = f
2
(K, R, H)  (3)
where H indicates the history dependence, which results from
prior plastic deformation. Eqn. (3) violates the similitude assumption,
two configurations cyclically loaded at the same K and R will not
exhibit the same crack growth rate unless both configurations are
subject to the same prior history.
Figure 10.2 illustrates several loading cases where the similitude
assumption is invalid. In each case, prior loading history influences
the current conditions at the crack tip. We present a Fatigue Crack
Propagation model that accounts for loading history later.
Fatigue Crack Growth Analysis became considerably more complicated
when prior loading history is taken into account. Consequently, FCG
models of the form of eqn. (1) are applied whenever possible. However,
such Fatigue analyses are only approximate in case of Variable
Amplitude Loading.
Fig. 10.2 Examples of cyclic loading that violate similitude
K  increasing
Random loading
K  decreasing
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION:
Empirical FCG (Fatigue Crack Growth) Equations:
Figure 10.3 illustrates typical fatigue crack growth behavior in
metals. The sigmoidal curve contains three distinct regions I, II, III.
In Region II, the curve is linear. In Region III, the crack growth
rate accelerates as K
max
approaches K
critical
, the fracture toughness
of the material. In Region I, da / dN approaches Zero at a threshold
K.
Fig. 10.3 Typical fatigue crack growth behavior in metals
Paris Law: Applies to Region II.
(1)
C and m are material constants that are determined
experimentally. da / dN is insensitive to the R in Region II.
m ranges from 2 to 7 for various metals.
Formans Law : Valid for Regions II and III; Accounts for R ratio
effects; The crack growth rate approached infinity as K
max
approaches
K
critical
.
 (2)
OR
(3)
K K R
K C
dN
da
crit
m
A
A
=
) 1 (
) .(
(
A
=
1
) .(
max
1
K
K
K C
dN
da
crit
m
Weertmans Semiempirical equation for regions II and III :
(4)
Both the Forman and weertmans equations do not account for the
threshold.
Klesnil and Lukas equation: Accounts for the threshold
(5)
The threshold K
Th
is a fitting parameter to be determined
experimentally.
max
4
) .(
K K
K C
dN
da
crit
A
=
) (
m
Th
m
K K C
dN
da
A A =
Pridles empirical relationship: An attempt to describe the entire
curve (Region I, II, III) taking account of both the threshold K
Th
and
K
crit
.
(6)
Mc Evilys equation: can fit the entire curve.
(7)
(
A A
=
max
K K
K K
C
dN
da
crit
Th
( )
(
A
+ A A =
max
2
1
K K
K
K K C
dN
da
crit
Th
Some Useful Remarks
Each of the equations (1) to (7) can be integrated to estimate
fatigue life N. The most general FCG model contains four
material constants: C, m, K
cirt
and K
Th
(The threshold Stress
Intensity Factor range K
Th
is not a true material constant
since it usually depends on the ratio R).
None of these equations incorporate a history dependence;
which results from prior plastic deformation. Two configurations
cyclically loaded at the same K and R will not exhibit the same
crack growth rate unless both configurations are subject to the
same prior history.
All the equations are strictly valid only for constant amplitude
loading.
Example: Derive an expression for the number of stress cycles required
to grow a semicircular surface crack from an initial radius a
0
to a final
size of a
f
, assuming Paris Law describes the FCG rate. Assume that a
f
is
small compared to plate dimensions (width, length, thickness) and the
stress amplitude is constant.
The SIF Solution:
which can be integrated to estimate the fatigue life.
a K t o A = A 663 . 0
) (
min max
o o o = A
( ) ( )
2 /
. 663 . 0
m m
a C
dN
da
t o A =
( )
}
A
=
f
a
a
m
m
da a
C
N
0
.
. 663 . 0
1
2
o t
( )
m
m
f
m
m
C
a a
o t A

.

\

=

.

\


.

\

. 663 . 0 1
2
2
1
2
1
0
Closed form integration is possible in this case because the K expression
is relatively simple. In most instances, numerical integration is required
to estimate fatigue life.
2 = m for
Dowling and Begley applied the J integral to fatigue crack growth
under large scale yielding conditions where the SIF (K) is no longer
valid. They fit the growth rate data to a power low expression in J
(Note )
Here J is the contour integral for cyclic loading, analogous to the
J integral for monotonic loading.
) (
min max
J J J =
/
A
( )
m
J C
dN
da
A = .
FATIGUE CRACK RPOPAGATION:
Crack Closure Effects and The Fatigue Threshold:
Soon after Paris Law gained side acceptance as a predictor of FCG,
many researchers have realized that that this law was not universally
applicable. As figure 10.3, illustrates a log log plot of (da/dN) Vs (K)
is sigmoidal rather than linear when FCG data are obtained over a
sufficiently wide range of K. Also, FCG exhibits a dependence on
R ratio, especially at both extremes of the curve.
Elber provide a partial explanation for both the fatigue threshold
and R ratio effects. Elber postulated that crack closure (i.e., contact
between crack faces at loads that were low but greater than zero)
decreased the fatigue crack growth rate by reducing the effective
stress intensity factor range. Figure 10.4(b), illustrates the crack
closure effect. When a cracked specimen is cyclically loaded at
K
max
and K
min
, the crack faces are in contact below K
op
, the SIF at
which the crack opens. Elber postulates that the portion of the stress
cycle that is below K
op
does not contribute to FCG!.
Fig 10.4 Crack closure during fatigue crack growth. The crack faces
contact at a positive load (a), resulting in a reduced driving force for
fatigue, k
eff
(b)
He defines an effective SIF range as
and an effective SIF ratio.
and then proposes a modified Paris Erdogan equation:
This equation has been reasonably successful in correlating FCG data at
various R ratios.
min max
max
K K
K K
K
K
U
op eff
=
A
A
=
( )
m
eff
K C
dN
da
A = .
eff
K A
op eff
K K K = A
max
Since Elbers original study, numerous researchers have confirmed
that Crack Closure does in fact occur during Fatigue Crack
Propagation. Suresh and Ritchie identified five mechanisms for crack
closure undefatigable.
Crack Closure reduces FCG rate and introduces a threshold (K
Th
)
(See fig 10.3)
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION:
Variable Amplitude Loading and Retardation:
Similitude of crack tip conditions, which implies a unique relation
between da / dN, K and R is strictly valid for constant amplitude
loading (i.e., dK / da = 0) only. Real structures / components, however,
seldom conform to this ideal. A real structure experiences a spectrum
of stresses over its life time. In such cases, a FCG rate at any moment
in time depends not only on the current loading conditions, but also
the prior history. i.e., da / dN = f
3
(K, R, H)
History effects in FCG analysis are a direct result of the history
dependence of plastic deformation. Figure 10.10, schematically
illustrates the cyclic stressstrain response of an elasticplastic
material which is loaded beyond yield in both tension and compression.
If we desire to know the stress at a particular strain, *. For the loading
path in fig 10.10, there are three different stresses that correspond to *;
we must specify not only *, but also the deformation history that
preceded this strain.
Fig. 10.10. Schematic stressstrain response of a material that
is yielded in both tension and compression. The stress at a
given strain, *, depends on prior loading history.
Figure 10.11, illustrates the crack tip plastic deformation that results
from a single stress cycle. A plastic zone forms at the crack tip when
the structure is loaded to K
max
. Upon unloading, material near the crack
tip exhibits reverse plasticity, which results in a compressive plastic
zone. The compressive stress field at the crack tip influences subsequent
deformation and the crack growth. Retardation of crack growth after an
overload is an example of this effect.
Fig. 10.11. Formation of a reverse plastic zone during
cyclic loading
(c) Stress field after unloading
(a) Crack loaded to K
max
(b) Superimposed stress field
We now analyze reverse plasticity by means of the Bagdate Barenblatt
strip yield model. The advantage of this model is that it permits
superposition of loading and unloading stress fields. Refer fig 10.11(a),
where the crack is loaded to K
max
; assuming small scale yielding the
size of the plastic zone P is,
2
max
8


.

\

=
ys
K
P
o
t
Let us now superimpose a compressive stress intensity K. The
effective yield stress for reverse yielding is 2*
ysi
. Since the
material inside the compressive plastic zone must be stressed to
ys
from an initial value of +
ys
. Figure 10.11(b), illustrates the
superposed stress field, and fig.10.11(c) shows the net stress field
after unloading. The estimated size of the compressive plastic zone,
P * , is
Therefore, the compressive plastic zone is
th
the size of the
monotonic zone. FEA predicts a much smaller CYCLIC PLASTIC
ZONE SIZE than P *!!
2
2 8
*


.

\

A
=
ys
K
P
o
t
Budiansky and Hutchinson Crack Closure model for FCG analysis
incorporates a plastic wake.
Budiansky, B. and Hutchinson, J.W., Analysis of closure in Fatigue
Crack Growth, ASME Journal of Applied Mechanics, Vol.45, 1978,
Page No. 267 276.
The effect of overloads on FCG
The fatigue loading history illustrated in Fig.10.12, shows a
constant amplitude loading interrupted by a single OVERLOAD.
Prior to the overload, the crack tip plastic zone would have reached
a steady state size, but the overload cycle produces a significantly
larger plastic zone. When the load drops to the original K
max
and
K
min
, the RESIDUAL STRESSES that result from the overload
plastic zone are likely to influence subsequent FCG behavior.
Fig. 10.12. A single overload during cyclic loading
Figure 10.13, shows experimental data, where a single overload is
imposed in an otherwise constant amplitude test. Immediately after
application of the overload, da/dN drops dramatically. The overload
cycle results in compressive residual stress at the crack tip, which
RETARD fatigue crack growth. The FCG rate resumes its original
value once the crack has grown through the overload plastic zone.
Fig. 10.13. Retardation of crack growth following an overload
Retardation of FCG rate is a complicated phenomenon. There are
a number of empirical and semi empirical model for retardation,
which contain one or more fitting parameters that must be
obtained experimentally. Some models assume that crack closure
effects are responsible for retardation while others consider the
plastic zone in front of the crack tip.
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION:
Fatigue Crack Growth Analysis under Variable Amplitude Loading
Figure 10.2 illustrates several examples of Variable Amplitude
Loading. Similitude is not satisfied in such cases, and history effects
are pronounced.
FCG analysis under Variable Amplitude Loading also is done using
!! If is dK/da is small! Simple FCG laws are
usually conservative when applied to variable amplitude loading.
Retardation effects, which these equations do not consider, tend to
extend the fatigue life of a structure / component.
) , (
1
R K f
dN
da
A =
Variable amplitude loading FCG analysis that account for retardation
can be very complicated and computationally intensive. Some FCG
models require cyclebycycle summation of crack growth.
For FCG analysis under Variable Amplitude Loading, the stress input
consists of two components. The spectrum and the sequence. The
spectrum is a statistical distribution of stress amplitudes, which
quantifies the relative frequency of LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH
stress cycles. The sequence, which defines the order of the various
stress amplitudes, can be wither RANDOM or a REGULAR pattern.
FCG analysis under Variable Amplitude Loading must first be Performed
on the experiment to determine the adjustable parameters that gives the
best prediction of measured crack growth. The model can then be applied
to structure / component life predictions. If a structure / component with
a different stress spectrum is to be analyzed, the FCG analysis model
must be recalibrated with a new experiment.
Newman has developed a FCG analysis model, based on crack closure
effects that can be applied to variable amplitude loading. This model is
capable of a priori predictions, with the empirical approaches are merely
able to correlate crack growth data after the fact. Newmans model is
based on the Dugdale Barenblantt strip yield model and is an expansion
of the superposition reverse plasticity concept illustrated in Fig 10.11
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION:
Fatigue Crack Closure and Retardation:
Summary:
Under constant amplitude cyclic loading, the normal SIF amplitude
(K = K
max
K
min
) and / or the maximum SIF (K
max
) uniquely
govern FCG rates in ductile and brittle solids
There are, however, a variety of circumstances where the effective SIF
range or peak value of crack tip SIF, which is responsible for FCG,
can be markedly different from the nominal value.
These differences between the apparent and actual driving force for
fatigue fracture are called crack growth retardation mechanisms:
Plasticity induced crack closure
Oxide induced crack closure
Roughness induced crack closure
Viscous fluid induced crack closure
Phase transformation induced crack closure
Additional Retardation Mechanisms
 Retardation following tensile overloads
 Transient effects following compressive overloads
 Load sequence effects
A detailed study of these fatigue crack growth retardation mechanisms
under constant amplitude cyclic loading is essential for
 Developing accurate fatigue life prediction methods
 Improving micro structural design of materials for enhanced
damage tolerance.
Structures / components in practice are subjected to Variable amplitude
spectrum loads. Experimental observations of fatigue crack growth due
to these loads have revealed that the application of periodic overloads
can significantly decelerate the rate of FCG.
Variable amplitude and spectrum loads can have a distinctly different
effect on the fatigue crack growth than on fatigue crack initiation.
Elbers FCG Model:
, if K
min
< K
op
, if K
min
K
op
Fatigue crack closure is a phenomenon whose influence on FCG rates
is strongly dictated by micro structural and environmental factors and
mechanical loading parameters. It is therefore a formidable challenge
to experimental and theoretical attempts aimed at quantifying the effect
of crack closure on fatigue behavior in engineering materials /
components / structures.
( )
m
eff
K C
dN
da
A =
op eff
K K K = A
max
min max
K K =
>
The ultimate aim of fatigue research is to develop models for the
prediction of useful life in cyclically loaded structures / components.
It is not surprising that only semiempirical approaches are
developed.
Many researchers have included the crack closure effects in conjunction
with various cycle counting methods to predict FCG life in variable
amplitude fatigue involving random and block program loads. These
approaches, can predict fatigue lives to within an accuracy of a factor
of two.
The characteristics approach was first proposed by Paris (1960) for
RANDOM LOADING. The basic hypothesis here is that the random
variation of the crack tip stress fields are described in terms of root
meansquare value of the SIF range, K
rms
. The FCG rate under
variable amplitude spectrum loading is given by the relationship
where C and m are material constants.
( )
m
rms
K C
dN
da
A =
and
Here, k
i
is the SIF range in the i
th
cycle in a sequence consisting of
n stress cycles. K
rms
= K for constant amplitude fatigue loading.
Although empirical, this approach is used in a number of fatigue critical
applications.
SOURCE: S.Suresh, Fatigue of Materials, Second Edition, Cambridge
University Press,2003.
Chapter 14. Retardation and transients in fatigue crack growth.
n
K
K
n
i
i
rms
=
A
= A
1
2
FATIGUE CRACK GROWTH PROPAGATION:
Growth of Short Cracks
Experts consider cracks less than 1 mm long to be short (a 1mm)
The fatigue behavior of short cracks is very different from that of
long cracks.
A number of factors contribute to the anomalous behavior of short
cracks. The fatigue crack growth mechanisms depend on whether the
crack is microstructurally short or mechanically short.
s
Microstructurally short crack has dimensions on the order of the
grain size less than 100 m. The material behavior cannot be
modeled using continuum mechanics at such length scales. The FCG
is strongly a function of MICROSTRUCTURE. The growth of such
cracks is often very sporadic. The crack may grow rapidly and then
virtually arrest when it encounters barriers (grain boundaries)!
Mechanically Short Cracks: (100m a 1mm), Continuum
mechanism is applicable
Short cracks grow typically much faster than longer cracks at the
same K particularly near the threshold (Fig. 10.18).
s >
Fig 10.18 Growth of short cracks in a
low carbon steel
Two factors contributing to the faster growth of short cracks:
crack tip plastic zone and crack closure phenomenon.
When the plastic zone size is comparable to the crack length, an
elastic stress singularity does not exist at the crack tip and hence
the use of SIF, K is invalid. An effective crack driving force can
be inferred by adding an Irwin plastic zone correction.
An intrinsic crack length has been proposed, which, when added to
the physical crack length, bring short crack FCG data in line with the
corresponding longer crack FCG results. The intrinsic crack length is
merely a fitting parameter, however, and does not correspond to a
physical length scale in the material.
Some researchers have proposed adjusting the data for crack tip
plasticity by characterizing da / dN with J rather than K. Note J
computations includes crack tip plasticity effects.
Short cracks exhibit different crack closure behavior than longer cracks,
and the FCG data [ da/dN (m / cycle) Vs K (Mpa m)] for different
crack length can be rationalized through k
eff
. Figure 10.19 (a), shows
K
op
measurement for the short and long crack FCG data presented in
Fig 10.18. The closure loads are significantly higher in the longer
cracks, particularly at low K levels. Fig. 10.19 (b) shows the short and
long crack FCG data lie on a common curve when da / dN (m/cycle) is
plotted against k
eff
, thereby lending credibility to the crack closure
theory of short crack behavior.
Fig. 10.19 Short Crack fatigue crack growth data
(a) Crack closure data for short and long
cracks
(b) Closure corrected data
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION: EXPERIMENTAL
MEASUREMENT OF FATIGUE CRACK GROWTH
The ASTM standard E647 93 outlines a test method for FCG
measurements. This procedure does not take into account Crack
Closure Effects.
The Standard Test Method for measurement of FCG rates, describes
how to determine da/dN Vs K from an experiment. The crack is
grown by cyclic loading of a test specimen, and K
min
, K
max
and
crack length a are monitored throughout the test
The test specimen and fixture are identical to those used for fracture
toughness testing. E647 recommends tests on Compact Tension
specimens and Centre Cracked Tension Panels.
The ASTM standard E 647 for FCG measurements requires that the
behavior of the test specimen be predominantly elastic during the
tests. Accordingly specifies the following requirements for the
uncracked ligament of a CT specimen
2
max
4


.

\

H
>
ys
K
a W
o
There are no specific requirement of thickness. However, the FCG
rate can depend on thickness much like fracture toughness is
thickness dependent. Consequently, the thickness of the test
specimen should match the section thickness of the structure /
component of interest.
All specimens must be fatigue pre cracked prior to the actual fatigue
test. The K
max
at the end of fatigue precracking should not exceed
the initial K
max
in the FCG test, otherwise retardation effects any
influence the measured FCG rate.
During the test the crack length must be measured periodically. Crack length
measurement techniques include optical, unloading compliance and
potential drop. Optical crack length measurements require a traveling
microscope. One obvious disadvantage of the optical method is that it can
only measure growth on the surface, in thick specimens, the crack length
measurements must therefore be corrected for tunneling, which cannot be
done until the test specimen is broken open after the test!. Another
disadvantage of the optical technique is that the crack length measurement
are recorded manually. It may be possible to automate optical crack length
measurements with Image Analysis hardware and software, but most
Material Testing Labs do not have this facility. The unloading compliance
technique requires that the fatigue test be interrupted for each crack length
measurement.
The ASTM standard E647 outlines two types of Fatigue Tests:
(1) Constant Load Amplitude Tests where K increases
(2) K  decreasing test in which the load amplitude decreases
during the test to achieve a negative K gradient.
The K  increasing test is suitable for FCG rates greater than
10
8
m/cycle. The K decreasing test is preferable when
near threshold data are required
ASTM Standard E647 requires that the normalized K gradient be
computed and reported.
If the test is computer controlled, the load can be programmed to
decrease continuously to give the desired K gradient.
( )
da
dK
K da
dK
K da
K d
K da
dK
K
G
max
max
min
min
1 1 1 1
= =
A
A
=
Figure 10.24, illustrates typical crack length versus N curves. These
curves must be differentiated to infer (da/dN). ASTM standard E647
recommends two alternative numerical methods to compute(da/dN)
Linear Differentiation Approach: Computes the slope
from two neighboring data points (a
j
, N
j
) and (a
j+1
, N
j+1
).
The crack growth rate for is
where
a a =
j j
j j
a a
N N
a a
dN
da
=

.

\

+
+
= 1
1
( ) 2
1 j j
a a a + =
+
Fig 10.24 Schematic fatigue crack growth curves. da
/ dN is inferred from numerical differentiation of
these curves.
The derivative at a given point on the a Vs N curve can also
be found by fitting several neighboring points to a quadratic
polynomial (i.e., a Parabola)
An appendix in ASTM standard E647 lists a FORTRAN
program which performs the curve fitting operation and
solves for da/dN
Closure measurement:
A number of experimental techniques for measurement of closure
loads during Fatigue Crack Growth Test are currently available.
Allison has reviewed the existing procedures.
Allison, J.E., The Measurement of Crack Closure Load during
a Fatigue Crack Growth Tests, ASTM STP 945, 1998, PP 913 933.
Most measurements of crack closure loads are inferred from compliance.
Figure 10.25 schematically shows the load displacement behavior of
a FCG test specimen that exhibits crack closure. The precise closure
load is illdefined; because there a range of loads where the crack is
partially closed.
The closure load can be defined by a deviation in linearity in either the
fully closed or fully open case (P
1
and P
3
, in fig.10.25) or by
extrapolating the fully closed and fully open load displacement
curve to the point of intersection (P
2
).
Fig 10.25 Alternate definition of the closure load.
Figure 10.26, illustrates the required instrumentation for the three most
common compliance technique for crack closure load measurement. The
closure load can be inferred from CLIP GAUGE displacement at the
crack mouth, back face strain measurements or LASER interferrometry
applied to surface indentations specimen alignment is critical when
inferring crack closure loads from compliance measurements.
Fig. 10.26 Instrumentation for the three most
common closure measurement techniques.
Crack mouth opening displacement measurement with a CLIP GAUGE
is relatively simple, but extra care is necessary when attaching the clip
gauge. Displacement measurements away from the crack tip often lack
sensitivity.
A back face strain gauge has a high degree of sensitivity.
Interferrometric techniques provide a local measurement of crack
closure load. Monochromatic light from a Laser is scattered off of two
indentations on either side of the crack plane. The two scattered beams
interfere constructively and destructively, resulting in fringe patterns.
The fringes changes as the indentations more apart.
Crack closure is a 3D phenomenon. The interior of a FCG test specimen
exhibits different closure behavior than the surface. Laser interferrometry
is strictly a surface measurement. The clip gauge and back face strain
gauge methods provide a thickness average measure of crack closure.
More elaborate experimental techniques are also available to study
threedimensional effects. Optical interferrometry has been applied to
transparent polymers to infer closure behavior through the thickness.
Fleck has also developed a special gauge to measure Crack Opening
Displacement at interior of FCG test specimens.
FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION:
Damage Tolerance Design Methodology
We describe the application of fatigue test data and Fatigue Crack
Growth models to structures / components, as part of a damage tolerance
design methodology.
The term damage tolerance design methodology refers to the application
of fracture mechanics analyses to predict remaining life and fix
inspection intervals. This approach is usually applied to structures /
components that are susceptible to time dependent crack growth
( e.g., fatigue crack growth environmental  assisted cracking, creep
crack growth). As its name suggests, the damage tolerance design
philosophy allows CRACKS to remain in the structure / component,
provided they are well below the critical size a
c
The first task of a damage tolerance analysis is the computation of a
critical crack size a
c
. Depending on material properties, ultimate
failure may be governed by FRACTURE or PLASTIC COLLAPSE.
Consequently, an elasticplastic fracture mechanics analysis that also
includes the extremes of brittle fracture and plastic collapse as special
cases is preferable.
Once the critical crack size a
c
has been estimated, a safety factor is
normally applied to determine the tolerable crack size, a
t
. A rational
definition of the safety factor should be based on uncertainties in the
input parameters (e.g., Stress, fracture toughness) in the fracture
analysis. Another consideration in specifying the tolerable crack size
is the crack growth rate; a
t
should be chosen such that da/dt at this
crack size is relatively small, and a reasonable length of time is
required for the crack to grow from at to a
c
.
The NDE provides input to the fracture analysis which in turn helps to
define inspection intervals. A structure / component is subjected to
NDE at the beginning of its life to determine the size of initial flaws. If
no significant flaws are detected, the initial flaw size is set to an
assumed value, a
0
, which corresponds to the largest flaw that might be
missed by NDE used.
Fig. 10.28(a), illustrates the procedure for determining the first
inspection interval in the structure / component. The lower curve
defines the true behavior of the worst flaw in the structure, while the
predicted curve assumes the initial crack length is a
0
. The time ( No. of
cycles) required to grow the crack from a
0
to a
t
( the tolerable flaw size)
is computed. The first inspection interval, I
1
, should be less than this time,
Fig. 10.28. Schematic damage tolerance analysis
(c) Determination of third Inspection level, I
3
(c) Determination of second Inspection level, I
3
(c) Determination of first Inspection level, I
3
In order to prelude crack growth beyond at before the next inspection! If
no flaws greater than a
0
are detected, the second inspection interval, I
2
, is
equal to I
1
, as Fig. 10.28(b) illustrates. Suppose that the next inspection
reveals a crack length a
1
, which is larger than a
0
. In this instance, a crack
growth analysis must be performed to estimate the time required to
grow the crack from a
1
to a
t
. The third inspection interval, I
3
, might be
shorter than I
2
, as Fig.10.28(c) illustrates. Inspection intervals would
then become progressively shorter as the structure / component
approaches the end of its life. The structure is repaired or taken out of
service when the crack length reaches the maximum tolerable size, or
when required inspections become too frequent to justify continued
operation.
In practice, a variable inspection interval is not recommended,
inspections must often be carried out at regular times that can be
scheduled well in advance. In such instances a variation of the above
approach is required. The main purpose of any damage tolerance
analysis is to ensure that flaws will not grow to failure between
inspections. The precise methods for achieving this goal depends on
practical circumstances.
Since Retardation effects are not considered, the DTA is simpler and
will tend to overestimate FCG rates!
EXAMPLE: An edge crack of length 3.1 mm is detected in a large plate
made out of ferrite  pearlite steel with K
IC
= 165 Mpa m^ and
subjected to constant amplitude cyclic loading having
max
= 310 Mpa and
min
= 172 Mpa. Determine (i) Propagation life up to failure and
(ii) propagation life of the crack length is not allowed to exceed 25 mm.
SOLUTION:
SIF: a
w
a
f K
I
H

.

\

= o
12 . 1 =

.

\

w
a
f
MPa 138 172 310 = = Ao
m a 0031 . 0
0
=
( )
2
0
1
2
1
2
0
. . . 1
2
m
m
m
m
f
m
P
w
a
f C
m
a a
N
H A

.

\


.

\

=

.

\

+

.

\

+
o
( )
2
max
2
* 12 . 1 o H
=
IC
c
K
a
f
a m = = 0719 . 0
( )
m
K C
dN
da
A =
12
10 * 8 . 6
= C
3 = m
(i) Critical Crack Length,
Life:
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
(
(
H

.

\

=

.

\

+ 
.

\

+
2
3
3 3
12
1
2
3
1
2
3
* 138 12 . 1 * 10 * 8 . 6
1
*
1
2
3
0719 . 0 0031 . 0
P
N
= 203.6*10
3
cycles
(ii) Replacing a
f
= 0.0719 by a
f
= 0.25
N
P
= 166.4*10
3
cycles.
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