International Journal of Fracture

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 105–126 | Cite as

Effects of crack depth on elastic-plastic fracture toughness

  • William A. Sorem
  • Robert H. DoddsJr.
  • Stanley T. Rolfe


Short crack test specimens (a/W ≪ 0.50) are frequently employed when conventional deep crack specimens are either inappropriate or impossible to obtain, for example, in testing of particular microstructures in weldments and in-service structures containing shallow surface flaws. Values of elastic-plastic fracture toughness, here characterized by the crack tip opening displacement (CTOD), are presented for square (cross-section) three-point bend specimens with a/W ratios of 0.15 and 0.50 throughout the lower-shelf and lower-transition regions. Three dimensional, finite-element analyses are employed to correlate the measured load and crack mouth opening displacement (CMOD) values to the corresponding CTOD values, thus eliminating a major source of experimental difficulty in previous studies of shallow crack specimens. In the lower-transition region, where extensive plasticity (but no ductile crack growth) precedes brittle fracture, critical CTOD values for short crack specimens are significantly larger (factor of 2–3) than the CTOD values for deep crack specimens at identical temperatures. Short crack specimens are shown to exhibit increased toughness at the initiation of ductile tearing and decreased brittle-to-ductile transition temperatures. Numerical analyses for the two a/W ratios reveal large differences in stress fields ahead of the crack tip at identical CTOD levels which verify the experimentally observed differences in critical CTOD values. Correlations of the predicted stresses with measured critical CTOD values demonstrate the limitations of single-parameter fracture mechanics (as currently developed) to characterize the response.


Crack Depth Short Crack Crack Mouth Opening Displacement Bend Specimen Ductile Crack 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. Sorem
    • 1
  • Robert H. DoddsJr.
    • 2
  • Stanley T. Rolfe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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