Elastic-plastic fracture mechanics
When a test specimen or a structural component consisting of a ductile material and containing a crack is loaded, plastic flow starts in the vicinity of the crack tip. As a consequence, the crack tip becomes increasingly blunted with increasing load and the crack opens. At the same time the plastic zone grows and may, depending on the material and geometry, extend over large regions or the entire specimen until at some critical load crack initiation takes place.
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