Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 521–526 | Cite as

Fatigue crack propagation in polymeric materials

  • R. W. Hertzberg
  • H. Nordberg
  • J. A. Manson


In order to gain a better understanding of matrix-controlled fatigue failure processes in non-metallic materials a series of fatigue tests were performed on several different polymer materials representing different classes of mechanical response. Fatigue crack propagation rates between 5×10−6 in. cycle−1 (127 nm cycle−1) and 4×10−4 in. cycle−1 (10 300 nm cycle−1) were measured in nylon, polycarbonate, ABS resin, low-density polyethylene and polymethyl methacrylate. A strong correlation was found between the fatigue crack propagation rate and the stress intensity factor range prevailing at the advancing crack tip. Whereas metals exhibit comparable fatigue growth rates for a given stress intensity range when normalised with respect to their static elastic modulus, the polymer materials exhibited a 1300-fold difference in crack growth rate for a given normalised stress intensity range. This observation dramatically illustrates the importance of understanding molecular motion and energy dissipation processes in polymer materials as related to their chemistry and architecture. The relative behaviour of the different polymer materials could be generally correlated with their reported damping characteristics.


Fatigue Stress Intensity Factor Polymethyl Methacrylate Crack Growth Rate Fatigue Crack Propagation 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. Hertzberg
    • 1
  • H. Nordberg
    • 1
  • J. A. Manson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Metallurgy and Materials ScienceLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA

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