SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2000

Elastic-Plastic Fracture Mechanics: Where Has it Been? Where is it Going?


Elastic-plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM) is the name given to a body of fracture technology that includes parameters, test methods, and analysis techniques. EPFM began in the 1960s, soon after it was recognized that the linear elastic approach to fracture mechanics was too limited to cover many engineering applications. It began in response to real engineering problems and continues to develop in the same application-driven mode. The development of EPFM spans more than three decades. It involved many people and a multitude of good ideas. Some of the people have gone on to other pursuits, and many of the ideas have been set aside or discarded in the never-ending debate about which is the best approach. The development of EPFM is not complete, nor is the controversy ended. It is important to look back at the factors that influenced such a vast development of technology before trying to forge ahead.

This paper takes a look at the area of fracture mechanics called EPFM. It considers the development of a technology that involved people, places, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of technical ideas. It considers what happened in the past, what is going on in the present, and speculates about what will happen for the future. Its purpose is to stop for a moment and consider for EPFM: Where has it been? Where is it going?

Author Information

Landes, JD
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 3–18
DOI: 10.1520/STP13391S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5418-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2617-6