Application of Fracture Mechanics in Assuring Against Fatigue Failure of Ceramic Components

  • J. E. RitterJr.
  • S. M. Wiederhorn
  • N. J. Tighe
  • E. R. FullerJr.
Part of the Army Materials Technology Conference Series book series (volume 1)


The use of ceramics in high performance applications offers a challenge to scientists and engineers; the challenge of designing structural components with brittle materials. Design problems arise for two reasons when brittle materials are used as structural components: 1. The strength of brittle materials is not a well defined quantity, but can vary widely depending on the material; 2. The strength of brittle materials is time dependent so that these materials often exhibit a time delay to failure. This time dependence and scatter of strength so typical of most ceramic materials occurs because of the presence of defects such as cracks or crack-like flaws in these materials. When subjected to an applied tensile stress, these defects act as stress concentrators and fracture occurs when the applied stress intensity factor reaches a critical value. Scatter in the strength of ceramic materials is a consequence of the scatter in the size of the most critical defect in the ceramic. The time dependence of strength results from subcritical crack growth, which gradually lengthens the crack until it reaches critical dimensions, at which time failure occurs. The time delay to failure is the time required for the crack to go from a subcritical to a critical size.


Silicon Nitride Strength Distribution Strength Degradation Subcritical Crack Growth Failure Prediction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. RitterJr.
    • 1
  • S. M. Wiederhorn
    • 2
  • N. J. Tighe
    • 2
  • E. R. FullerJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Fracture and Deformation DivisionNational Bureau of StandardsUSA

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