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A model is presented to predict the event of cleavage fracture in the brittle to ductile transition region. In this region cleavage fracture could occur after some amount of ductile tearing. The model takes into account the competition between the nucleation of voids at second phase inclusions leading to ductile fracture and the nucleation of unstable micro cracks initiated at second phase inclusions leading to cleavage fracture. The model was tested on four point bend specimens of a ferritic steel tested in the brittle to ductile transition region. It was shown that there could be a significant amount of ductile crack growth before the specimens failed by cleavage. Two different crack growth simulations were performed to investigate the stresses ahead of a ductile growing crack. One simulation takes into account the softening of the material in the process zone, due to damage, around a quasistatically ductile growing crack. The second simulation neglects this damage. It was found that the crack opening stress near the crack tip in the process zone is significantly lower than in the analysis neglecting the effect of damage. Further from the crack tip, outside the damage zone the crack opening stresses are similar in both simulations.
ductile fracture, cleavage fracture, gurson model, damage, finite elements
Research Scientist, Shell Research Arnhem, AA Arnhem,
Research Assistant, Delft University of Technology, Laboratory for Materials Science, GA Delft,
Professor, Delft University of Technology, Laboratory for Materials Science, GA Delft,