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From Charpy to Present Impact Testing

D. Franqois and A. Pineau (Eds.)

9 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. and ESIS. All rights reserved



Z. RADAKOVI(~, A. SEDMAK, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Belgrade

Gy. B. LENKEY, Bay Zolt~.n Institute for Logistics and Production Systems, Miskolc
V. GRABULOV, Military Technical Institute, Belgrade


Magnetic emission (ME) and potential drop (PD) techniques were used for
instrumented Charpy impact testing in order to determine critical crack initiation properties of
standard pre-cracked three-point bending specimens at room temperature. Results for high
strength low-alloyed steel specimens, with ductile properties, were compared for determina-
tion of critical fracture mechanics parameters upon the onset of ductile crack growth.
In the case of ductile, or mixed ductile/cleavage fracture at temperatures well above
nil-ductile, or at lower impact energies, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish crack initiation
from ME signal, while the integrated magnetic emission signal (MF) sometimes has a slower
changing rate. Results were also obtained by applying the potential drop technique with single
specimen HSLA steels and by evaluating the R-curve. Initiation of stable crack growth may
also be depicted from local minimum (or maximum) of potential drop value and it may not
give clear local extreme values when conditions of fracture change from brittle to ductile.
Alternatively, if the change of slope in the PD-t diagram can be used to evaluate critical crack
behaviour, compared to similar changes of slope in the MF-t diagram, it may provide a better
understanding of both.

Keywords: fracture mechanics, impact testing, ductile crack growth, magnetic emission,
potential drop, dynamic resistance curve.


In an urge to develop appropriate material compositions that would at least prevent

steel structures from undergoing cleavage fracture, particularly at lower temperatures, it is not
unusual to deal with HSLA steels having high ductile properties, even when moderately
increasing the strength level. Dynamic loading is more critical for a structure than static, and
determination of dynamic fracture mechanics properties of materials is necessary. Various
type of fracture is evident from force-time records of instrumented impact tests. The HSLA
steel behaviour is tested by applying dynamic loads at room temperature, and impact rates by
using initial energy levels in the range Eo=26; 30; 40; 45; 50; 60; 70 J, enabling impact
loading rates vo=1.69; 1.79; 1.82; 2.09; 2;22; 2.33; 2.56; 2.75 m/s. The introduced fatigue
cracks produced on standard three-point bending specimens that also influence the fracture
toughness are within the range: a/W=0.47+0.57.
One of the most widely used techniques for this purpose is instrumented impact
testing. In this case the instrumentation includes combined magnetic emission (ME) technique
and potential drop technique. The ME technique is used to determine initiation of crack
propagation and is applied for instrumented impact testing of certain types of steels [ 1].
The potential drop method (PD) has been successfully applied for the same purpose by
recording the change in electrical resistance measured by DC or AC -drop in electric potential
(AE) near the crack tip [2]. Results were also obtained by applying this technique on a single
specimen with a method for evaluating the dynamic R-curve on instrumented Charpy pendu-
lum with HSLA steels [3]. Stable crack initiation in this case is also depicted from the local
minimum (or maximum) of the potential drop value and, as in the case with the ME tech-
nique, this may not give clear local extreme values when fracture is ductile.
Therefore, these two techniques were implemented in a Charpy instrumentation that
gave independent and simultaneous recordings of ME and PD signals and the results were
analyzed in order to check their validity.


Micro-alloyed steels have a wide range of use in metal structures in general. The
tested ferrite-pearlite steel is micro-alloyed with Nb and Ti and is obtained by controlled
rolling and accelerated cooling. The yield stress is 411 MPa, and the material is very ductile at
lower temperatures, with a wide brittle-to-ductile transition range. The as-received chemical
composition (in wt. %) is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Chemical composition in weight percent

C Si Mn P S AI Cu Cr Ni Mo Nb Ti
0.08 0.20 1.12 0.027 0.011 0.033 0.065 0.027 0.019 0.010 0.026 0.017

Upper shelf values for ductile fracture at room temperature are evident from load-time
or load-displacement data. All tests are performed at room temperature. The standard V-
notched Charpy specimens were cut from a 12 mm plate perpendicular to rolling direction,
and pre-cracked by high frequency fatigue in programmed sequence in order to avoid large-
scale plastic deformation. Owing to experience, specimens were then prepared in the manner
for applying the potential drop technique [4]. In Fig. l, the required instrumentation is shown
connected to the specimen, positioned on the anvil of the Charpy machine. Thin steel-wire,
Ni-wire, or Ni-Cr-wire connections for PD signal output were either resistance-spot-welded,
or soldered to the specimen at positions in the vicinity of notch opening (locations A, Fig. 1).
Massive input Cu-wires from the DC power source were connected to the specimens by bolts
(position III on Fig. 1). The power source input DC electric current of 30 A was selected as
Determination of Ductile Crack Initiation 73

nominal for producing output PD values that could be distinguished, ranging from several to
at least 10 mV. In order to produce stronger output signals, some specimens required input
signals as high as 40 A, even 50 A, being the limit, since higher values produce electrically
induced heat. Locally induced, this heat might affect pronounced ductility behaviour by
additional softening of the material, predominantly within the fracture-processing zone ahead
of the crack, since electric currents must close the circuit, passing through the ligament. Other
limiting effects contribute from massive wire connections, e.g. inertial characteristics of
specimens are influenced, and this problem is yet to be solved. As a consequence, 'interrupted'
fracture occurs at higher strain rates. During impact, this is caused by mutual contact and/or
collision of wire-connections with inclined anvil wall surfaces, appearing much later after
stable crack initiation, even after the maximal force (Fro), and so these unwanted effects are
not taken into consideration. These effects are evident from the load-time, and MF--time or
PD-time diagrams, Fig. 2, and in the shown example appear at approximately 3.5 ms.

PC desktop
power supl:~y
Pendulum ' Load
1 !
,/ ,'" i~ probe
vDOCmeter I' I\ !\Strain gauge
S and Ii F :\
Magnetic aml ~ifier J ~ ~Pendulum
probe Oscdloscope i" .... :

Fig 1. The Charpy instrumentation

7- [00004 7 1 tO004
6 00003 6~ 0003

St 00002 5 o oo2

4 0O0O1 4 OOOl
z z
tu 3 o E ua 3
o ~2
u. 2 . -0 (xx)1 2 .oool

I .0 0 0 0 2 I .o002

0 -0 0003 0
-1 ,---~ . . . . . . . . . . . . ,i .O(XX)4 -1 J, . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
0 2 4 6 8 ~0 ~2 0 2 4 6 8 lo 12
T1ME t. m s TIME t. ms

Fig. 2. F(t) diagrams with MF and PD signals for specimen C12

(Applied energy E,,=50 J" ao/W=0.48; PD input 50 A; insulated specimen)

Changes in the external magnetic field are recorded in the vicinity of the propagating
crack, through the magnetic emission probe, Fig. 1. The TEKTRONIX TDS 420A data
acquisition equipment is connected to a DC amplifier and voltage supply. The HP transient
recorder with an interior circuit amplifier is tied to the remaining channel on the oscilloscope.
Both magnetic and electric potential drop signals are monitored and recorded in real sampling
time intervals of 2, 4, 10 and 40 Its. All data is handled by spreadsheet procedures, including
the evaluation of absorbed energy (U) and the fracture resistance critical dynamic J-integral.
6 [ - - o 0024 6 ; - 0O02
5 . . . . ~ 0002 5 t . . . . . . 0001

4 ~ . . . . . . 'i 00016 4! 0
Z.x Z
.x J I
u.." 3 00012 u." 3 - -0001

O 2) 00008 E ~ 2"
.. 9 ,. . j
i~ 0ooo4 i 9 ; " ~.~'x~. --~.o03
! ._.. i
o :,,r o o ,,.--
-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -0 0004 -1 -- , ................... ~. . . . . . . . . . . 4) 005
-2 0 2 4 6 e 10 12 14 16 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

Fig. 3. F(t) diagrams with MF and PD signals for specimen A6

(Applied energy Eo=60 J; ao/W=0.54; PD input 50 A; grounding, tape insulation inside of
anvil; soldered thin NiCr-wire contacts; coupling impedance 50 f2)
-00006 6 : - 0002
61 I !

i ; o0oo4
5, !~~, ;~..e..~'*~r ooo,
'4...4w, ;

i 4, 9 !- ..
uS 3 >
, \ , oool 6

L&. Ii
t -0002

! 7 , ~ '
-00002 [ -0 003
0 0 '
; ,

-I . . . . . . . ~. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -/ .O 0004 -I . . . . /~0"5 ............. -0 004

-05 0 L=/ u5 1 15 -o5 0 tF I 15
TIME t, m s T I M E t, m s

Fig. 4. F(t) diagrams with MF and PD signals for specimen A6, shown time-to-fracture (tF),
(measured and calculated data: pre-crack length ao=5.38 mm; crack extension Aa=3.99 mm;
impact load rate vo=2.56 ms ~', maximum impact load F,~x=5.14 kN', stable crack initiation
times (time-to-fracture), and released energies, determined from ME and PD tests, in respect:
b(M~.)=460 Its, t;(p[))=458 las, U(M~.)=4.39 J, U(pD)=4.36 J; dynamic J-integral values calculated
from ME and PD tests: J,:md= 190.'1 kJm 2, Jcpdd= 189.1 kJm 2)
Determination of Ductile Crack Initiation 75

Fracture resistance is determined from the J-integral at the initiation of stable crack
growth under dynamic conditions (j]d), and is determined from the most appropriate formula,
for single or multiple specimen testing:

jd = qU
Bn(W_ao), (1)

where 1"1=2 for single edge notch bend specimens, and B,=B is the non-sidegrooved specimen
thickness. The released energy U, in the upper formula, is the area under the load-displace-
ment curve F(t)-f(t) and is integrated according to:

U, = riF(f)df (2)

The displacement at stable crack growth initiation fc(t=ti) is determined at a time-to-

stable crack initiation interval (t,) or by the time-to-fracture interval (tr), whose determination
mostly draws the attention of many researchers. It is very difficult to assess the point of crack
initiation, especially in the case of complete ductile fracture, when recorded diagrams, ME(t)
and PD(t), do not always show clear discontinuity. In these circumstances, it is necessary to
analyze and compare all other diagrams as well: F(t), integrated-ME(t), or MF(t), or several
multi-point linear or polynomial PD(t)-trendlines. Some authors have successfully used other
methods, [6], i.e. the Double Displacement Ratio (DDR)-the ratio of crack opening displace-
ment vs. specimen displacement, to indicate the onset of ductile crack initiation and growth,
and evaluate critical J,"-values.
Results of the tests performed here are shown in Figs. 5 and 6 with a high level of
similarity between ME and PD signals, and indicate a satisfying agreement on the evaluation
of ductile crack initiation for this type of ductile steel.

300 r
I 300 r

i I

250. I
250 '
test ,~ .~. 0
9 ME ' ~
... ~ ~ 9 9
-) 200 i ~ o .-'-" _-~--~ O PDtest E :' o...._ ~}--.;._$ o
'o u I
-- - - Power (ME test) -'~ 200 I- - ~ ~ ~ _ _ ~"~,;... i~

Power (PD test)

" i 9 . ~
: 0 0 0 0

150~ o
150 - o

100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 i _. . . . . . . . .

1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.6 5.0 5.4 5.8

V, m s "I ao, am

Fig. 5. Jca- -v dependence Fig. 6. Jca-ao dependence

Preliminary stretch zone measurements indicate that for some specimens, not totally
cracked, the stretch zone width (SZW) values measured at three locations, with three local
measurements, give a critical mean value of SWZi=120 pm, and according to the DVM

Merkbl~itter procedure 002 (1987), and by assuming plane strain conditions, the characteristic
equation for the critical J-integral can be described in the form"

Jid = 1692"SZWi (kJm2), (3)

where the value SZW, is given in (mm).

According to this, the fracture resistance J-integral at the onset of stable crack growth
is j d = 203 kJm 2, and this value agrees very well upon critical dynamic J-integral values
calculated from ME and PD tests, in respect: J c ~ d = 190.1 kJm 2, Jcodd = 189.1 kJm z, as for
specimen A6 (specimen data are given in the Fig. 4 caption). But even though this result may
seem in very good agreement with data calculated by means of ME and PD experiments, it
should be accepted with reserve, since it is only a preliminary result, and presumably large
scatter is sure to be expected.
The R-curve is constructed and shown in Fig. 7, together with fracture resistance data.
The figure also shows the corrected fracture resistance J-integral allowing for crack growth,
as would be calculated according to test procedures [8,9], and the equations describing the
fitted curves, from the offset power law.


J = 600 + 5256.,7 A~
R 2 = 0.901 j~' A
2500-, ~"
9 A
-b 2000 9 /A
AI ~ 0
9 O

9 1500,

L~ J

1000 t 0 Jcorr
-- - - P o w e r (Jcorr)
Jco- = 695 + 3 9 4 ~ o 5r -- - - Linear (J)
~)0 ""
R 2 = 0.629

0 ".' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T - " 9 . . . . . . . . . .

0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0

crack growth, Aa (mm)

Fig. 7. J-integral-crack growth Aa.


Analysis of the fractured surface shows portions of 'slant' and 'square' type surfaces,
indicating a fracture profile typical of the both plane stress and plane strain modes. This is
regularly noticed when using non-side grooved specimens for this type of steel.
It is noticed that by fitting the dynamic R-curve (Fig. 7) by the equation of the general
form: J = A + C'Aa D, where A, C and D are constants, results in a linear behaviour.
It is interesting to notice that if the fracture resistance determined from J-integral
calculation allowing for crack growth is corrected according to certain test procedures [8,9]
given for quasi-static conditions, using the formula:
Determination of Ductile Crack Initiation 77

(0.75rl - 1)An }
J:Jo 1- (W_ao) ' (4)

where errors in the J-values should be negligible only for crack growth less than 0.1(W-ao),
the corrected J-integral values become sufficiently lower, from 14.9% to 43.7% lower than if
calculated from Eq.(1). All the crack growth values are within the range Aa=2.28+4.13 mm,
and relative differences between J and Jo, below 40%, are in 12 of the total 19 specimens. In
these cases the initial impact energies were below 60 J, and it is only for these cases that the
fractured surface did not extend over the entire net surface area. However, in the performed
dynamic tests, all fractured surfaces were generally ductile, where the ratio of elastic/plastic
energy was very small (Jel < 0.03"Jpl).
The dynamic fracture toughness of the material is affected by strain rate, and for
ductile materials, the fracture mechanism is controlled by the strain field. This may increase
or decrease, depending on the loading rate [4,5]. The presence of the corresponding ductile
fracture model here is particularly sensitive to the absolute size and spacing of the various
populations of microstructural panicles. For this type of ductile steel, it is possible that the
volume-fraction of carbide panicles is much less than that of oxides, and a larger degree of
crack-tip deformation is required to increase crack-tip radii and enclose a sufficient number of
the oxide panicles, within the logarithmic spiral field of large plastic-strain and high mean-
normal stress, to form the fracture surface [7]. Preliminary SEM fractographic analyses show
that stretch zone widths have values that range from as low as 20 pm to as high as 130 pm.


Results shown in Figs. 5 and 6 indicate an increasing tendency of the fracture

resistance dynamic J-integral (j,o) with impact load rate (v), and a decreasing tendency for
larger initial cracks (no). Fitted power curves J=f(v~), J=f(ao~), are very close, indicating good
agreement between ME and PD techniques on evaluation of ductile crack growth initiation.
The ME power curve is constantly above the PD power curve indicating slightly
higher J-integral. This is true in the average, since PD evaluated time-to-fracture (t,) is usually
shorter than its ME equivalent. The released energies U(t) are thus smaller, and also the
dynamic J-integral values, Eqs. (1) and (2). Multiple peaks in F(t)-ME(t) and F(t)-PD(t) are
related to the complex development of crack initiation and propagation. In most of the tested
cases, ME peaks follow PD peaks by a small delay, and both peaks usually precede F(t)
peaks. The delay is probably related to specimen-strain gauge, or specimen-probe interaction,
or hysteresis effects in the electric and magnetic properties of the tested material. For impact
energy Eo=60 J or higher, the crack extension value (Aa) reaches the maximum (a/W>0.9).
Crack extension is very large, and the applied formula (Eq. 1) may be considered as an
approximation, since the shift from plane stress state to plane strain becomes pronounced. If
the criterion for fracture resistance J, allowing extensive crack growth, is corrected (Eq. 4)
and used for approximations in dynamic loading conditions, the corrected J-integral values are
reduced by 30% and even less.
According to regression analysis, the characteristic fracture resistance dynamic R-
curve is linear for this type of HSLA steel, having a high R square value of 0.901. Ductile
material behaviour is maintained by strain-rate hardening.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the OTKA T 030057 project.


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Technique for the Determination of Ductile Crack Initiation in Impact Tests, Fatigue and
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Fourth International Conference on the Mechanical Properties of Materials at High Rates
of Strain, Oxford.
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and Dynamic R Curve Using DC Potential Drop Single Specimen Method. ECF9 -
Reliability and structural integrity of advanced materials (Ed. S. Sedmak, A. Sedmak and
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Metallurgy, Yugoslavia.
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