Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 357–368 | Cite as

CTOA and crack-tunneling measurements in thin sheet 2024-T3 aluminum alloy

  • D. S. Dawicke
  • M. A. Sutton


The stable tearing behavior of 2.3-mm thick sheets of 2024-T3 aluminum alloy was experimentally investigated for middle crack tension specimens having initial flaws that were: (a) flat fatigue cracks (low fatigue stress) and (b) 45-deg through-thickness slant cracks (high fatigue stress). The critical CTOA values during stable tearing were measured by two independent methods, optical microscopy and digital-image correlation. Results from the two methods agree well.

The CTOA measurements and observations of the fracture surfaces have shown that the initial stable tearing behavior of low and high fatigue stress tests is significantly different. The cracks in the low fatigue stress tests underwent a transition from flat-to-slant crack growth, during which the CTOA values were high and significant crack tunneling occurred. After crack growth equal to about the thickness (Δa>B), CTOA reached a constant value of 6 deg and after crack growth equal to about twice the thickness (Δa>2B), crack tunneling stabilized. The cracks in the high fatigue stress tests reach the same constant CTOA value after crack growth equal to about the thickness, but produced only slightly higher CTOA values during initial crack growth. The amount of tunneling in the high fatigue stress tests was about the same as that in the low fatigue stress tests after the flat-to-slant transition.

This study indicates that stress history has an influence on the initial portion of the stable tearing behavior. The initial high CTOA values, in the low fatigue crack tests, coincided with large three-dimensional crack front shape changes due to a variation in the through-thickness crack-tip constraint. The measured CTOA reached a constant value of 6 deg for crack growth of about the specimen thickness. This coincided with the onset of 45-deg slant crack growth and a stabilized, slightly tunneled (about 20 percent of the thickness) crack-front shape. For crack growth on the 45-deg slant, the crack front and local field variables are still highly three dimensional.


Fatigue Crack Crack Front Fatigue Stress Slant Crack Crack Tunneling 
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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. Dawicke
    • 1
  • M. A. Sutton
    • 2
  1. 1.Analytical Services and Materials, Inc.Hampton
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of South CarolinaColumbia

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