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    A Finite-Element Analysis of Fatigue Crack Closure

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    Experiments have shown that fatigue cracks close at positive loads during constant-amplitude load cycling. The crack-closure phenomenon is caused by residual plastic deformations remaining in the wake of an advancing crack tip. The present paper is concerned with the application of a two-dimensional, nonlinear, finite-element analysis using an incremental theory of plasticity to predict crack-closure and crack-opening stresses during the crack-growth process under cyclic loading.

    A two-dimensional finite-element computer program, which accounts for both elastic-plastic material behavior and changing boundary conditions associated with crack extension and intermittent contact of the crack surfaces under cyclic loading, has been developed. An efficient technique to account for changing boundary conditions under cyclic loading was also incorporated into the nonlinear analysis program. This program was used subsequently to study crack extension and crack closure behavior in a center-cracked panel under constant-amplitude and two-level block loading. The calculated crack-opening stresses were found to be quantitatively consistent with experimental measurements.


    crack propagation, plastic deformation, cyclic loads, stresses, residual stress, fatigue (materials), mechanical properties, plasticity tests

    Author Information:

    Newman, JC
    Research engineer, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

    Committee/Subcommittee: E08.06

    DOI: 10.1520/STP33952S