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The objective of this paper is to introduce analysis methods for evaluating the impact of preexistent cracks on structural performance. Linear elastic fracture-mechanics concepts are briefly described and used to compute the critical crack size for a given component and loading (specify fracture conditions) and to determine the time required for a smaller, subcritical crack to grow to critical size by fatigue or stress corrosion cracking or both. Limitations of linear elastic fracture mechanics are discussed in order to define problems that can be confidently analyzed by the method and to identify areas that require more sophisticated approaches. A particular goal is to establish the background for more specialized topics considered by other papers in the present volume.
cracks, fatigue (materials), stress corrosion, fracture (materials), fracture mechanics, damage tolerance, residual strength
Professor, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN