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A new finite-element model is proposed that can predict the relationship between load, displacement, and crack length for high-toughness, thin plate structural steel members. These types of members exhibit stable tearing for large amounts of crack extension, providing residual capacity for deformation well beyond the point of maximum load. This behavior must be accurately predicted in order to take full advantage of high-toughness plate steels in structural design. The new model uses a strength of materials approach to simulate plastic collapse of the material ahead of the crack tip, allowing the effect of localized necking to be simulated without the need for large-deformation analysis. A simple engineering stress-strain curve is used to define material properties throughout the model. No special crack tip elements or detailed mesh refinement is required. Predictions made using the model are compared to experimental data from an HSLA-80 center-cracked plate specimen and a full-scale I-beam specimen that featured over 150 mm of crack extension.
ductile tearing, finite-element, high-toughness steel, residual strength, crack extension
Research engineer, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Bethlehem, PA
Professor, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA