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    Determining Fatigue Crack Opening Loads from Near-Crack-Tip Displacement Measurements

    Published: 01 January 1999

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    The aim of this research was to develop a near-crack-tip measurement method that quantifies crack closure levels in the near-threshold fatigue crack growth regime—a regime where crack closure is not well characterized by remote compliance methods. Further understanding of crack closure mechanics was gained by performing novel crack growth experiments in conjunction with numerical simulations of three-dimensional crack-front propagation. Steady-state (i.e., constant growth rate) fatigue crack growth rates were characterized by performing constant cyclic stress intensity range (ΔK) experiments over a wide range of stress ratios (R). Near-crack-tip (less than 0.3 mm behind) load-versus-displacement measurements were conducted on the specimen surface using a novel noncontact experimental technique (Digital Imaging Displacement System—DIDS).

    The experiments and simulations revealed that the three-dimensional aspects of fatigue crack closure must be considered to determine correct opening load levels from near-crack-tip load-versus-displacement data. It was shown that near-crack-front opening levels are nearly constant along the interior portion (greater than 90%) of the crack front, but increase near the free surface. The interior opening load was found to collapse closure-affected data to intrinsic rates, and thus shown to relate to the true crack-front driving force parameter. Surface opening load DIDS measurements made at an optimal distance behind the crack tip were used to correlate da/dN with ΔKeff. Opening load determinations made less than the optimal distance behind the crack tip were shown to be too high to correlate fatigue crack growth rates.


    fatigue crack growth, crack closure, stress ratio, mean stress, closure measurement, aluminum alloy 8009, aluminum alloy 2024, three-dimensional, finite element method

    Author Information:

    Riddell, WT
    U.S. DOT/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA

    Piascik, RS
    NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

    Sutton, MA
    University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

    Zhao, W
    University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

    McNeill, SR
    University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

    Helm, JD
    University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

    Committee/Subcommittee: E08.06

    DOI: 10.1520/STP15756S