Special Issue On Computational Structural Mechanics


, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 577-595

First online:

Role of elasto-plastic analysis under cyclic loading in fatigue crack growth studies

  • B DattaguruAffiliated withDepartment of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Science Email author 

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Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM) has been widely used in the past for fatigue crack growth studies, but this is acceptable only in situations which are within small scale yielding (SSY). In many practical structural components, conditions of SSY could be violated and one has to look for fracture criteria based on elasto-plastic analysis. Crack closure phenomenon, one of the most striking discoveries based on inelastic deformations during crack growth, has significant effect on fatigue crack growth rate. Numerical simulation of this phenomenon is computationally intensive and involved but has been successfully implemented. Stress intensity factors and strain energy release rates lose their meaning,J-integral (or its incremental) values are applicable only in specific situations, whereas alternate path independent integrals have been proposed in the literature for use with elasto-plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM) based criteria. This paper presents certain salient features of two independent finite element (numerical) studies of relevance to fatigue crack growth, where elasto-plastic analysis becomes significant. These problems can only be handled in the current day computational environment, and would have been only a dream just a few years ago.


Fatigue crack growth material nonlinearity finite element analysis