This paper presents three-dimensional (3D) finite element analyses of plane-sided single-edge bend specimens to investigate the effect of the crack front curvature on the accuracy of the average J-integral (J) evaluated over the crack front using the plastic eta-factor-based approach specified in ASTM E1820-11. Specimens with average crack lengths of 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7 and thickness-to-width ratios of 1, 0.5, and 0.25 were analyzed. The analysis was based on the J2 deformation theory of plasticity and assumed stationary cracks with sharp crack tips. The curved crack front was characterized by a power-law expression proposed by Nikishikov et al. that was validated using crack front data collected in this study. The plastic eta factors specified in ASTM E1820-11 and proposed by Zhu et al. were employed. The analysis results indicate that the errors in the plastic eta-factor-based J were generally between −7 % (i.e., underestimation) and 6 % (i.e., overestimation) for the specimens that had curved crack fronts with crack front curvature equal to the maximum allowable value specified in ASTM E1820-11. Based on the analysis results, crack front straightness criteria that are in most cases less stringent than those specified in ASTM E1820-11 are recommended. The suggested criteria could potentially lead to reduced specimen rejection rates and cost savings.
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