SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1999

A Displacement-Based Method for Predicting Plasticity-Induced Fatigue Crack Closure


A numerical method for predicting closure and its effects on thermomechanical crack growth has been developed. A finite element model, using linear-elastic fracture mechanics shape functions, is employed to predict crack tip displacements. The effective changes in stress intensity, and therefore crack growth, are obtained from the minimum and maximum crack tip displacement predictions. When a flaw is loaded in Mode I, a ligament of material ahead of the flaw yields, and a maximum crack tip displacement is computed. Upon unloading, plastically deformed material from prior plastic zones acts to limit the minimum displacements of the crack tip. The material is modeled as elastic-perfectly plastic. The yield strength of the material is varied based on the degree of constraint. The upper limit of constraint is a plane strain condition while the lowest constraint is a plane stress condition. The level of constraint is predicted by relating the stress intensity to the thickness of the component. Temperatures also affect yield strength, along with stiffness, and can cause the plastic zone to expand due to creep. During variable-amplitude loadings, and/or temperature changes, the irregular shape of the wake can be accommodated with this numerical procedure. The method has proven to accurately account for load interaction effects such as delayed retardation, crack arrest, initial accelerations following overloads, and the transient growth and stabilization of closure level with number of overloads. This method has been verified against data obtained in the literature, and data collected under the program in which the method was developed, NASA's High Speed Research [1].

Author Information

Pawlik, ME
The Boeing Company, MO
Saff, CR
The Boeing Company, MO
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 427–439
DOI: 10.1520/STP15772S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5397-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2611-4