Standard Active Last Updated: Feb 17, 2017
ASTM C1576-05(2017)

Standard Test Method for Determination of Slow Crack Growth Parameters of Advanced Ceramics by Constant Stress Flexural Testing (Stress Rupture) at Ambient Temperature

Significance and Use

4.1 The service life of many structural ceramic components is often limited by the subcritical growth of cracks. This test method provides an approach for appraising the relative slow crack growth susceptibility of ceramic materials under specified environments at ambient temperature. Furthermore, this test method may establish the influences of processing variables and composition on slow crack growth as well as on strength behavior of newly developed or existing materials, thus allowing tailoring and optimizing material processing for further modification. In summary, this test method may be used for material development, quality control, characterization, design code or model verification, and limited design data generation purposes.

Note 4: Data generated by this test method do not necessarily correspond to crack velocities that may be encountered in service conditions. The use of data generated by this test method for design purposes, depending on the range and magnitude of applied stresses used, may entail extrapolation and uncertainty.

4.2 This test method is related to Test Method C1368 (“constant stress-rate flexural testing”), however, C1368 uses constant stress rates to determine corresponding flexural strengths whereas this test method employs constant stress to determine corresponding times to failure. In general, the data generated by this test method may be more representative of actual service conditions as compared with those by constant stress-rate testing. However, in terms of test time, constant stress testing is inherently and significantly more time consuming than constant stress rate testing.

4.3 The flexural stress computation in this test method is based on simple elastic beam theory, with the assumptions that the material is isotropic and homogeneous, the moduli of elasticity in tension and compression are identical, and the material is linearly elastic. The grain size should be no greater than one-fiftieth (1/50 ) of the beam depth as measured by the mean linear intercept method (Test Methods E112). In cases where the material grain size is bimodal or the grain size distribution is wide, the limit should apply to the larger grains.

4.4 The test specimen sizes and test fixtures have been selected in accordance with Test Methods C1161 and C1368, which provides a balance between practical configurations and resulting errors, as discussed in Ref (4, 5).

4.5 The data are evaluated by regression of log applied stress versus log time to failure to the experimental data. The recommendation is to determine the slow crack growth parameters by applying the power law crack velocity function. For derivation of this, and for alternative crack velocity functions, see Appendix X1.

Note 5: A variety of crack velocity functions exist in the literature. A comparison of the functions for the prediction of long-term static fatigue data from short-term dynamic fatigue data (6) indicates that the exponential forms better predict the data than the power-law form. Further, the exponential form has a theoretical basis (7-10), however, the power law form is simpler mathematically. Both have been shown to fit short-term test data well.

4.6 The approach used in this method assumes that the material displays no rising R-curve behavior, that is, no increasing fracture resistance (or crack-extension resistance) with increasing crack length. The existence of such behavior cannot be determined from this test method. The analysis further assumes that the same flaw type controls all times-to-failure.

4.7 Slow crack growth behavior of ceramic materials can vary as a function of mechanical, material, thermal, and environmental variables. Therefore, it is essential that test results accurately reflect the effects of specific variables under study. Only then can data be compared from one investigation to another on a valid basis, or serve as a valid basis for characterizing materials and assessing structural behavior.

4.8 Like strength, time to failure of advanced ceramics subjected to slow crack growth is probabilistic in nature. Therefore, slow crack growth that is determined from times to failure under given constant applied stresses is also a probabilistic phenomenon. The scatter in time to failure in constant stress testing is much greater than the scatter in strength in constant stress-rate (or any strength) testing (1, 11-13), see Appendix X2. Hence, a proper range and number of constant applied stresses, in conjunction with an appropriate number of test specimens, are required for statistical reproducibility and reliable design data generation (1-3). This standard provides guidance in this regard.

4.9 The time to failure of a ceramic material for a given test specimen and test fixture configuration is dependent on its inherent resistance to fracture, the presence of flaws, applied stress, and environmental effects. Fractographic analysis to verify the failure mechanisms has proven to be a valuable tool in the analysis of SCG data to verify that the same flaw type is dominant over the entire test range Ref (14, 15), and it is to be used in this standard (refer to Practice C1322).


1.1 This standard test method covers the determination of slow crack growth (SCG) parameters of advanced ceramics by using constant stress flexural testing in which time to failure of flexure test specimens is determined in four-point flexure as a function of constant applied stress in a given environment at ambient temperature. In addition, test specimen fabrication methods, test stress levels, data collection and analysis, and reporting procedures are addressed. The decrease in time to failure with increasing applied stress in a specified environment is the basis of this test method that enables the evaluation of slow crack growth parameters of a material. The preferred analysis in the present method is based on a power law relationship between crack velocity and applied stress intensity; alternative analysis approaches are also discussed for situations where the power law relationship is not applicable.

Note 1: The test method in this standard is frequently referred to as “static fatigue” or stress-rupture testing (1-3)2 in which the term “fatigue” is used interchangeably with the term “slow crack growth.” To avoid possible confusion with the “fatigue” phenomenon of a material that occurs exclusively under cyclic loading, as defined in Terminology E1823, this test method uses the term “constant stress testing” rather than “static fatigue” testing.

1.2 This test method applies primarily to monolithic advanced ceramics that are macroscopically homogeneous and isotropic. This test method may also be applied to certain whisker- or particle-reinforced ceramics as well as certain discontinuous fiber-reinforced composite ceramics that exhibit macroscopically homogeneous behavior. Generally, continuous fiber ceramic composites do not exhibit macroscopically isotropic, homogeneous, continuous behavior, and the application of this test method to these materials is not recommended.

1.3 This test method is intended for use with various test environments such as air, other gaseous environments, and liquids.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard and in accordance with IEEE/ASTM SI 10 Standard.

1.5 This test method may involve hazardous materials, operations, and equipment. This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.01
Developed by Subcommittee: C28.01
Pages: 13
DOI: 10.1520/C1576-05R17
ICS Code: 81.060.30