1
Introduction to Fracture Mechanics
From Suresh: Fatigue of Materials
INTRODUCTION
Importance of Fracture Mechanics :
All real materials contain defects: understand
the influence of these defects on the strength of
the material. Defecttolerant design philosophy.
2
the material. Defecttolerant design philosophy.
Relevance for Fatigue: understand the initiation
and growth of fatigue cracks.
We will use two approaches, an energybased
approach and a more rigorous mechanics approach.
Key Idea : Griffith (1921) postulated that for unit
crack extension to occur under the influence of the
applied stress, the decrease in potential energy of
Griffith Fracture Theory
Introduction
3
applied stress, the decrease in potential energy of
the system, by virtue of the displacement of the
outer boundaries and the change in the stored elastic
energy, must equal the increase in surface energy
due to crack extension.
Consider the centercracked plate shown below.
The inplane dimensions of the plate are large
compared to the crack length.
4
Using the results of Inglis (1913) Griffith found that
the net change in potential energy of the plate caused
by the introduction of the crack is:
.
'
2 2
E
B a
W
P
o t
=
'
E
E =
5
= E Plane stress
The surface energy of the crack system is
2
1
'
v
E
E
=
s S
aB W 4 =
Plane strain
where
S
is the free surface energy per unit surface area.
The total system energy is then given by
. 4
'
2 2
S S P
aB
E
B a
W W U
o t
+ = + =
6
Griffith noted that the critical condition for the onset
of crack growth is:
, 0 2
'
2
= + = + =
S
S P
E
a
dA
dW
dA
dW
dA
dU
o t
where A=2aB is the crack area and dA denotes an
incremental increase in the crack area.
Thus the stress required to initiate fracture is:
.
' 2
a
E
S
f
t
o =
7
a t
As the second derivative, d
2
U/da
2
is negative, the
above equilibrium condition gives rise to unstable
crack propagation. This applies for brittle materials;
it must be modified for ductile materials such as metals.
Orowan (1952) extended Griffiths brittle fracture
concept to metals by simply adding a term representing
plastic energy dissipation. The resultant expression
for fracture initiation is
,
) ( ' 2E
p s
o
+
=
8
,
a
p s
f
t
o =
where is the plastic work per unit area of surface
created. Generally is much larger than
p
.
s
to
=
E
=
We define the compliance C (inverse of the stiffness) of
G
12
a cracked solid as C=u / F. It can be shown that
.
2
2
da
dC
B
F
=
Thus measurements of compliance as a function of crack
length allow the energy release rate to be evaluated.
G
Modes of Fracture
The three basic modes of separation of the crack
surfaces (modes of fracture) are depicted below:
13
Combinations of modes (mixedmode loading) are
also possible.
Modes of Fracture
Definitions
Mode I (tensile opening mode): The crack faces
separate in a direction normal to the plane of the crack.
The displacements are symmetric with respect to
the x z and x y planes.
14
Mode II (inplane sliding mode): The crack faces
are mutually sheared in a direction normal to the
crack front. The displacements are symmetric with
respect to the x y plane and antisymmetric with
respect to the x z plane.
Modes of Fracture
Definitions
Mode III (tearing or antiplane shear mode): The
crack faces are sheared parallel to the crack front.
The displacements are antisymmetric with respect
to the x y and x z planes.
15
to the x y and x z planes.
The crack face displacements in modes II and III
find an analogy to the motion of edge dislocations
and screw dislocations, respectively.
Plane Crack Problem
The preceding analysis considered fracture from an
energy standpoint. We now carry out a linear elastic
stress analysis of the cracked body, which will
allow us to formulate critical conditions for the
16
allow us to formulate critical conditions for the
growth of flaws more precisely. An analysis of this
type falls within the field of Linear Elastic
Fracture Mechanics (LEFM).
We consider a semiinfinite crack in an infinite plate
of an isotropic and homogeneous solid as shown below:
17
Our goal is to develop expressions for the stresses,
strains and displacements around the crack tip.
Plane Crack Problem
Equilibrium Equations
The equilibrium equations (no body forces) are
, 0
1
=
+
c
c
+
c
c
r r r
rr r rr uu u
o o
u
o o
18
, 0
2 1
= +
c
c
+
c
c
r r r
r r u uu u
o
u
o o
where and are the polar coordinates as shown
previously.
r
u
Plane Crack Problem
StrainDisplacement
The straindisplacement relations for polar coordinates
are:
.
1 1



c
+
c
=
u u u
r u u
c
,
1
,
u
c c
u
uu
c
c
+ =
c
c
=
u
r r
u
r
u
r r
rr
19
.
1
2
1

.

\

c
c
+
c
c
=
r
u
r
u u
r
r
r
u u
u
u
c
The strain compatibility equation in polar coordinates is:
. 0
1 1 1 1 2
2
2
2 2
2
2
2
=
c
c
c
c
+
c
c
c c
c
c
c
+
c
c
r r r r r r r r r
rr rr r r
c
u
c
u
c
u
c c c
u u uu uu
Plane Crack Problem
Hookes Law
Hookes Law (for plane stress, ):
0 =
zz
o
,
rr
E vo o c
uu uu
=
,
uu
vo o c =
rr rr
E
. 2 o c G G = =
20
For the case of plane strain ( ):
0 =
zz
c
( ) , 1 2
uu
vo o v c =
rr rr
G
. 2
u u u
o c
r r r
G G = =
( ) , 1 2
rr
G vo o v c
uu uu
=
. 2
u u
o c
r r
G =
Plane Crack Problem
Airy Stress Function
For the plane problem, the equations of equilibrium are
satisfied when the stress components are expressed by
the Airy stress function through
x
, ,
1 1
2 2
x x x
rr
c
=
c
+
c
c
=
uu
o o
21
, ,
2 2 2
r r r r
rr
c
=
c
+
c
=
uu
o
u
o
.
1

.

\

c
c
c
c
=
u
o
u
x
r r
r
Using these definitions for the stresses and Hookes
law, the strains can be expressed in terms of .
x
It can be shown that the compatibility equation, when
expressed in terms of the Airy stress function, satisfies
the biharmonic equation:
( ) .
1 1
, 0
2
2
2 2
2
2 2 2
u
_
c
c
+
c
c
+
c
c
V = V V
r r r r
The boundary conditions for this plane crack problem
22
The boundary conditions for this plane crack problem
are: for
0 = =
u uu
o o
r
. t u =
These conditions express the fact that the crack is
tractionfree (no loads applied to crack face).
Note: there is no condition on .
rr
o
A choice of the Airy stress function for the present
crack problem should be such that x has a singularity
at the crack tip, and is singlevalued. We try a solution
of the form:
( ) ( ), , ,
2
u u _ r q r p r + =
23
Where p and p are harmonic functions of r and
(i.e. and
0
2
= V p
). 0
2
= V q
Now consider a separate solution, of
the following form (Williams, 1957):
( ) ( ), u _ O = r R
, sin cos
2 1
u u
r A r A p + =
( )
( ) ( ) . 2 sin 2 cos
2
2
2
1
u u
+ + + =
+ +
r B r B q
This form leads to the following expression for x:
( )
( )  + + + =
+
u u
2 cos cos
1 1
2
B A r x
( )
( )   . 2 sin sin
2
u u
+ +
+
B A r
24
( )
( )   . 2 sin sin
2 2
2
u u
+ +
+
B A r
Note that we have expressed x as a symmetric part and
an antisymmetric part. The symmetric part provides
the Mode I solution while the antisymmetric part
provides the Mode II solution. We will derive the
Mode I solution here.
2
2
r c
c
=
_
o
uu
( )( ) ( )   u u
2 cos cos 1 2
1 1
+ + + + = B A r

.

\

c
c
c
c
=
u
o
u
rx
r r
r
1
25
( ) ( ) ( )   u u
2 sin 2 sin 1
1 1
+ + + + = B A r
Apply the boundary conditions:
( ) , 0 cos
1 1
= + t B A
( )   . 0 sin 2
1 1
= + + t B A
The admissible cases are: (i) cos = 0, hence
where Z is an integer including zero, and thus
B
1
= A
1
/( + 2) or (ii) sin = 0 and hence = Z and
B
1
= A
1
. Since the governing equations are linear, any
linear combination of the admissible solutions provides
a solution, hence can have any satisfying:
2
1 2 +
=
Z
26
a solution, hence can have any satisfying:
,
2
Z
=
Where Z is a positive or negative integer, including zero.
Out of all the possible values of , how do we decide
the appropriate value of ?
The value of cannot be found from any mathematical
argument. We need to use a physical, based on the total
strain energy around the crack tip. From the expressions
for the stresses, and Therefore the
o r ~
. ~
c r
27
for the stresses, and Therefore the
strain energy density is given by
o r
ij
~
. ~
c r
ij
. ~
2
1
2
c o r
ij ij
= u
The total strain energy within an annular region,with
inner and outer radii r
0
and R, respectively, centered at
the crack tip, with unit thickness is
( )
. ~
2
1
0 0
1 2
2
0
2
0
u u c o
t t
drd r rdrd
R
r
ij ij
R
r
} } } }
+
= u
28
We assert that the strain energy should be bounded
( < ) as r
0
0. Using this physical argument, we
see that > 1. ( = 1 gives ). If < 1, the
strain energy will not be bounded.
0 =
ij
o
2
Thus the physically admissible values of are
,
2
) ( ..., , 2 ,
2
3
, 1 ,
2
1
, 0 ,
2
1 Z
or = =
where Z is 1, 0, or a positive integer. Taking the most
dominant singular term ( = 1/2 and thus B
1
=A
1
/3)
we find that:
29
we find that:
( ) +

.

\

O + O +
(
+ =
2
5
2
1
2
3
2
3
cos
3
1
2
cos r r A r
u u
_
( ) ( ) ( ) .....
~
2 / 1 0
2
1
1
+ O + O + =
r r r A
ij ij
I
ij ij
u o o
The higher order terms, with exponents greater than
zero, vanish as r 0. We write where
K
I
is the stress intensity factor.
Thus we have that:
t 2 /
1 I
K A =
( ) .
~
2
jx ix
I
ij
I
ij
r
K
o o u o
t
o T + =
30
The first term is the leading singular term for linear elastic
mode I crack problems. is a function of alone (no r
dependence). The second term, generally referred to as the
T term, is a nonsingular term which can be important in
some situations involving fatigue. is the Kronecker
delta function.
I
ij
o
~
ij
o
From Hookes law, the strains are linearly related to
the stresses so that
Since the strains are calculated from the
.
2 r
K
I
ij
t
o c
31
Since the strains are calculated from the
displacement gradient,
.
2 2
r
K
r
r
K
u
I I
i
t
o
t
o
Plane Crack Problem
Stress Intensity Factors
The stress intensity factors for Modes I, II and III are
defined as follows:
{ } , 0 2 lim
0
= =
u o t
yy
r
I
r K
{ } , 0 2 lim
0
= =
u o t
xy
r
II
r K
32
{ } , 0 2 lim
0
= =
u o t
xy
r
II
r K
{ } . 0 2 lim
0
= =
u o t
yz
r
III
r K
The stress intensity factor K depends on loading and geometry.
Many different geometries have been evaluated, either
analytically or numerically, and are available in the literature,
e.g., Compendium of Stress Intensity Factors, D. P. Rooke.
Plane Crack Problem
Similitude
For a crack of length 2a
1
in an infinite plate, subjected
to an applied stress
1
the stress intensity factor is
known to be . Consider two large plates, one
with a center crack of length 2a
1
, the other with a center
crack of length 2a
2
. A stress
1
is applied to the first
1 1
a K
I
t o =
33
crack of length 2a
2
. A stress
1
is applied to the first
plate, and a stress
2
is applied to the second plate. If
we choose
1
,
1
,
2
and
2
so that then the
fields at the crack tip are identical in both cases. This
is the principle of similitude, which is very important in
fracture mechanics as it allows results from laboratory
scale tests to be applied to large scale fracture problems.
) 2 ( ) 1 (
I I
K K =
Plane Crack Problem
Stress Intensity Factors
How do we apply this analysis to the failure of actual
materials? It has been found experimentally that when
the stress intensity factor K (which depends on the
geometry and loading) attains a critical value K
C
(a
material property) the crack begins to grow, i.e., the
34
critical condition for the onset of fracture is
K K
c
.
The condition can also be expressed in terms of the
energy release rate, i.e.,
c
.
What are some typical values for K
C
?
Si
3
N
4
Al
2
O
3
Glass
K
c
(MPa ) Material
m
1 ~
4 3 ~
8 4 ~
35
Steels
Al alloys
Polymers
Si
3
N
4
8 4 ~
2 5 . 0 ~
100 10 ~
300 30 ~
Fracture Mechanics #2:
Role of Crack Tip Plasticity
1
Role of Crack Tip Plasticity
Plastic Zone Size
Estimate
Consider inelastic and permanent deformation at the
crack tip (stresses are too high for the material to
remain elastic).
First order estimate of plastic zone size:
2
Assume: plane stress, and the material behavior is
elasticperfectly plastic. Set the stress
yy
=
ys
(along the line = 0).
ys
p
yy
r
K
= =
*
1
2
2
2
2
2
1
*
2 2
ys ys
p
a K
r
~ =
Where we have used the result that for a semiinfinite
crack in a very large plate
. a K
I
=
What about the details of the plastic zone shape? The
3
What about the details of the plastic zone shape? The
shape of the plastic zone is obtained by examining the
yield condition, in conjunction with asymptotic Kfield
results, for all angles around the crack tip. Either the
Mises or the Tresca criterion can be applied.
Plastic Zone Shape
Recall that for the Tresca yield condition yielding
occurs when
. 2 /
max ys
=
We will use the Mises yield condition. The Mises
condition in terms of principal stresses is given as
4
condition in terms of principal stresses is given as
( ) ( ) ( )
2
2
1 3
2
3 2
2
2 1
2
ys
= + +
where
y s
is the uniaxial yield stress. (For a tension
test,
2
=
3
=0,
1
=
ys
).
On the plane = 0,
xy
= 0 and thus
xx
and
yy
are the
principal stresses
1
and
2
. The stresses
z
3
;
z
=0
for plane stress,
z
= (
xx
+
yy
) for plane strain.
However, in general the shear stress
xy
is not zero and
the principal stresses
1
and
2
cannot be determined so
easily.
5
The principal stresses
1
and
2
are evaluated as follows
(can use Mohrs circle, for example):
2
2
2 1
2 2
,
xy
yy xx yy xx
+


.

\

+
=
Substitute the known expression for
xx
,
yy
and
xy
in the Mode I crack problem (derived last time) and
find that:

.

\

+ =
2
sin 1
2
cos
2
1
r
K
I
 
K
6
(plane strain);
3
= 0 (plane stress).
2
cos
2
2
3
r
K
I
=

.

\

=
2
sin 1
2
cos
2
2
r
K
I
Substitute in to the Mises yield condition:
Plane strain:
( ) ( )
2
2
2
2
2 cos 1 2 1 sin
2
3
2
ys
I
r
K
=
(
+ +
7
2 2 r
(
Plane stress:
2 2
2
2 cos sin
2
3
1
2
ys
I
r
K
=

.

\

+ +
These expressions can be used to solve for the radius
of the plastic zone r
p
as a function of :
Plane strain:
( ) ( ) ( )
(
+ +


.

\

=
cos 1 2 1 sin
2
3
4
1
2
2
2
I
p
K
r
8
(

.
\
2 4
ys
p
Plane stress:
( )
(
+ +


.

\

=
cos sin
2
3
1
4
1
2
2
ys
I
p
K
r
Check: We note that the Plane Stress case reduces to
our first order estimate for = 0.
Also note that (K
I
/
ys
)
2
has dimensions of length.
Next we will compare the extent of the plastic zone
9
Next we will compare the extent of the plastic zone
in the two situations, plane stress and plane strain,
for two cases, = 0 and = 45.
For = 0, ,
3
1
=
( )
( ) 9
1
=
stress plane r
strain plane r
p
p
For = 45, ,
3
1
=
10
( )
( ) 8 . 2
1
381 . 0 ~ =
stress plane r
strain plane r
p
p
3
Extent of the plastic zone is significantly larger for the
plane stress case.
Plastic Zone Shape
Plane stress/plane strain
11
Plastic Zone Shape
Plane stress/plane strain
12
Plastic Zone Size
Engineering Formulae
For Plane Stress:
2
1


.

\

=
ys
I
p
K
r
For Plane Strain:
13
For Plane Strain:
2
3
1


.

\

=
ys
I
p
K
r
Similar analyses can be done to determine the plastic
zone size and shape for Mode II and Mode III loading.
Specimen Thickness Effects
Plane stress/plane strain
14
Thickness B
Meaning of
Recall the Strain Energy Release Rate .
What does it physically represent? It is the rate of
decrease of the total potential energy with respect to
crack length (per unit thickness of crack front),i.e.
15
( )
a
PE
c
c
=
What is the connection between and K?
For Mode I:
Plane Stress:
E
K
I
2
=
Plane Strain:
16
Plane Strain:
( )
2
2
1 =
E
K
I
For the general 3D case, plane strain and antiplane
strain loading:
( )
2 2
2 2
1
1
III
II I
+
+
+
= K
E E
K K
17
For the plane stress case (combination Mode I and
Mode II):
E
K K
2 2
II I
+
=
K Dominance
Domain of validity
There exists an annular zone where the K solution
is valid:
18
The inner radius is given by r
p
(plastic zone size).
The outer radius, r
0
, is the radial distance at which
the approximate, asymptotic singular solutions
deviate significantly (say, by more than 10%)
from full elasticity solutions which include higher
order terms. It is found that,
19
a r 1 . 0
0
~
where is the crack length.
a
Example Problem
Size Requirements
Consider a low strength steel with
ys
=350 MPa,
K
Ic
=250 MPa and E = 210 GPa. What are the
Minimum specimen size requirements for a valid
K
Ic
measurement?
m
20
Example Problem
Size Requirements
K
Ic
Test
ASTM standard E399 (1974) for K
Ic
testing (specimen
dimensions large compared to plastic zone):
2
5 . 2 , ,




>
Ic
K
B b a
21
5 . 2 , ,


.
\
>
ys
B b a
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