Theoretical background of the constraint effect in brittle fracture of solids is reviewed. Fracture test data from D6-aC, a high strength steel, using three- point-bend (SE(B)) specimens and surface cracked plate (SC(B)) specimens under bending are presented. It is shown that the SE(B) data has an elevated fracture toughness for increasing a/W, i.e. a crack geometry with a larger T/K corresponds to a higher Kc which is consistent with the theoretical prediction. The fundamental fracture properties, i.e. the critical strain and the critical distance, determined from the SE(B) test data are then applied to the interpretation and prediction of the SC(B) test data. Reasonable agreement is achieved for the crack growth initiation site and the load.
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