Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

Brittle fracture of precompressed steel as affected by hydrostatic pressure, temperature and strain concentration

Paper presents a demonstration and explanation of how moderate strain concentration converts gradual changes in response with pressure, temperature, or strain rate to an abrupt brittle-to-ductile transition
  • R. H. Hawley
  • D. C. Drucker


Highly precompressed 1020 HR steel, 0.65 prestrain at 400°F (204°C), tested in nominally uniform tension at −80°F (−62°C) fractures at about 110,000 psi (760 MN/m2) with less than 0.02 plastic strain. Yet the addition of a hydrostatic pressure of less than 7000 psi (48 MN/m2) converts this visually brittle fracture to a ductile one with appreciable necking. The explanation of this surprising experimental result is shown to follow directly and simply from the combination of a tensile stress criterion of fracture, strain concentration and the low tangent modulus of the stress-strain curve in tension beyond the Bauschinger transition region of a few percent of plastic strain. Temperature dependence and strain-rate dependence of brittle fracture similarly are predictable in an almost trivial manner from the appropriate stress-strain curves for different amounts of precompression. So also is the amazingly high ductility or fracture toughness of the most complex of perforated or notched statically loaded structures of mild steel in an undamaged or fully annealed state.


Ductility Fracture Toughness Fluid Dynamics Tensile Stress Plastic Strain 
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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. Hawley
    • 1
  • D. C. Drucker
    • 2
  1. 1.Brown UniversityProvidence
  2. 2.College of EngineeringUniversity of IllinoisUrbana

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