The residual strength of center cracked tension panels is considered from a phenomenological perspective. A simple, direct analysis technique is derived from experimental observations and stress intensity factor concepts. A smooth, continuous stress-flaw size curve is generated over the full range of crack lengths and panel widths. Plasticity and finite width effects are accommodated in a manner simpler and more consistent for engineering purposes than the iterative procedures implicit in current theoretical models. The technique is verified by an analysis of data from a variety of sources. It is concluded that toughness indexes, in the form of stress intensity factors, are reliable indicators of fracture instability, as well as other damage levels. They can be analyzed and interpreted on an elementary format. It also is shown that width can be uncoupled as a parameter in cracked panel behavior.
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