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This study shows that modern-day fracture mechanics has strictly two-dimensional origins. Certain difficulties arise, for example, in meeting fatigue crack-front straightness requirements. Some insight into this problem is available from an analytical study of an elastic thick plate with a central crack, the M(T) specimen. The study found that modest changes in the crack-front shape have a dramatic effect on the distribution of G, the elastic energy release rate. Further examination of the internal stress distribution shows that there is no region in the vicinity of the crack front that can be credibly described as plane stress, whereas an interior region sensibly replicates plane strain. Finally, a call is issued for the development of a three-dimensional fracture mechanics.
fracture mechanics, two-dimensional fracture mechanics, three-dimensional fracture mechanics
Professor, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA