Volume 5, Issue 8 (September 2008)
Impact of Residual Stress and Elastic Follow-Up on Fracture
The presence of tensile residual stress in cracked structures combined with external loading leads to circumstances where a structure may fail at a lower applied load than when residual stresses are not present. This is taken into consideration in the fracture assessment codes which are usually invoked to determine whether a cracked structure is fit-for-purpose. These codes typically attempt to decompose the stresses present in the structure under consideration into either “secondary” or “primary” components, in order to simplify the assessment and avoid the need for detailed numerical modeling. It is acknowledged that whether a given residual stress field should be classified as “secondary” or as “primary” is dependent on the level of associated elastic follow-up (EFU). However, although there is a significant body of work related to the influence of EFU on the high temperature creep behavior of uncracked structures, the EFU concept has not yet been rigorously applied to the fracture assessment of cracked structures. This paper represents a first step towards a more rigorous application of the EFU concept to the fracture assessment of cracked structures containing residual stresses. Insight is provided into the influence of residual stress and EFU on fracture by considering the behavior of a simple three-bar assembly. Having introduced the concept, a three-bar type test rig capable of generating fit-up residual stresses with varying levels of EFU in a compact-tension fracture-specimen is presented. Results, produced using this test rig, from two cases with identical levels of initial residual stress but different levels of associated EFU are considered. It is concluded that EFU is important in determining how the residual force in the specimen changes (and therefore how the component of crack driving force associated with the residual force changes) as damage accumulates in the specimen subsequent to fracture initiation.