If a structural material behaves in a linearly elastic manner, it is generally assumed that plane-strain fracture toughness (KIc) and a proven equation for calculating an applied stress-intensity factor can be used to predict conditions for catastrophic fracture. The adequacy of this approach has been verified for some specific applications, generally through-cracks in plate material. Recent fracture test results and analyses of surface cracks in brittle materials have raised a concern about the validity of using KIc and the maximum value of the calculated stress-intensity factors to predict fracture conditions. This paper presents test data and results obtained from different procedures, all based on KIc, for predicting failure for three-dimensional surface cracks.
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