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Fatigue crack growth prediction models for metallic materials

Part I: Overview of prediction concepts

T. MACHNI EWI CZ

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30059 Krak ow, Poland

Received in final form 11 July 2012

ABSTRACT Deterministic models developed to predict fatigue crack growth in metallic materials

are considered with special emphasis on approaches suitable for variable amplitude load

histories. Part I gives a concise review of available models and their assessment based

on reported in the literature comparisons between predicted and observed results. It is

concluded that the so-called strip yield model based on the plasticity induce crack closure

mechanism is a most versatile predictive tool convenient to use in the case of mode I crack

growth under arbitrary variable amplitude loading. Part II of the paper is focused on the

strip yield model and its predictive capabilities. Implementations of this type prediction

approach reported in the literature are reviewed. It is shown that decisions regarding

the constraint factor conception, a choice of the crack driving force parameter, the crack

growth rate description and various numerical details can have a profound effect on the

model results and the prediction quality.

Keywords crack closure; fatigue crack growth; load interaction effect; prediction

models; variable amplitude loading.

NOMENCLATURE a = crack length

a

fict

= fictitious crack length

CA = constant amplitude

CDF = crack driving force

COD = crack opening displacement

da/dN = fatigue crack growth rate

FE = finite element

K = stress intensity factor (SIF)

K

eq

= equivalent stress intensity factor

K

max

= maximum stress intensity factor value

K

min

= minimum stress intensity factor value

K

op

= crack opening stress intensity factor

K

r

= stress intensity factor due to residual stress

K

red

= reducing stress intensity factor in Willenborg model

OL = overload (subscript OL is used for parameters associated with the

overload occurrence)

r

p

= plastic zone size

r

pOL

= plastic zone size generated by overload

R = stress ratio

RMS = root mean square

Correspondence: T. Machniewicz. E-mail: machniew@agh.edu.pl

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2012 Wiley Publishing Ltd. Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 36, 293307 293

294 T. MACHNI EWI CZ

R

OL

= K

OL

max

/K

max

R

SO

= overload ratio needed to crack arrest

R

u

= S

UL

/S

OL

S

max

= maximum stress

S

maxRMS

= maximum root mean square stress

S

min

= minimum stress

S

minRMS

= minimum root mean square stress

S

op

= crack opening stress

SIF = stress intensity factor

SY = strip yield

U = K

eff

/K

UL = underload (subscript UL is used for parameters associated with the

underload occurrence)

VA = variable amplitude

a = crack growth increment

K = K

max

K

min

K

eff

= K

max

K

op

K

th

= threshold K

K

T

= intrinsic K

th

S

RMS

= S

max RMS

S

min RMS

y

= yield stress

,

R

= retardation factors

I NT RODUCT I ON

According to the damage tolerance philosophy, currently

adopted by many industrial branches, flaws of various

types are unavoidable in a structure. In that case, de-

termination of the service life of a component subject

to fatigue loading requires crack growth predictions. De-

pending on whether the crack increment in a given load

cycle is uniquely determined from the input data or it is

deemed a random variable, probabilistic and determin-

istic prediction models can be differentiated. The prob-

abilistic approaches, which otherwise start from deter-

ministic models, are amply considered elsewhere.

1,2

This

paper focuses on the deterministic concepts for crack

growth predictions applicable to variable amplitude (VA)

load sequences. As amply documented in the literature,

3,4

load interaction effects, namely crack growth acceleration

or retardation occur in crack growth under VA loading

conditions.

Part I of this paper gives a concise review of available

crack growth prediction models that account for the load

interaction phenomena. These concepts are classified ac-

cording to their physical basis and their predictive capabil-

ities are assessed based on reported comparisons between

predicted and observed results. It is concluded that the

so-called strip yield (SY) model of crack closure is a most

versatile predictive tool convenient to use in the case of

mode I crack growth under arbitrary VA load histories.

Part II of this paper is focused on the SY model. Though

in models of this category the major components remain

essentially the same, specific SY model implementations

differ in many respects, such as the conception of con-

straint factors, crack driving force (CDF) parameters, the

type of crack growth input data, and various numerical de-

tails. All above aspects can essentially affect SY model re-

sults and the corresponding decisions and computational

choices as well as their consequences for the prediction

results are addressed in the paper.

CL AS S I F I CAT I ON OF F AT I GUE CRACK

GROWT H PRE DI CT I ON MODE L S

Deterministic models for fatigue crack growth prediction

can be classified as proposed in Fig. 1. It is seen that with

most concepts crack growth analysis for a given load his-

tory is carried out cycle-by-cycle, which implies summing

up fatigue crack growth increments (a

i

) associated with

consecutive load cycles. The crack length (a

i

) at a certain

cycle number is therefore computed as

a

i

= a

i 1

+a

i

. (1)

The crack growth increment in a load cycle, i.e. the fa-

tigue crack growth rate (da/dN) in that cycle, is computed

utilizing a crack growth equation. The best known one,

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2012 Wiley Publishing Ltd. Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 36, 293307

FATI GUE CRACK GROWTH PREDI CTI ON MODELS FOR METALLI C MATERI ALS 295

Fig. 1 Classification of deterministic models for fatigue crack growth predictions.

according to Paris, relates da/dN to the stress intensity

factor (SIF) range defined as K = K

max

K

min

, where

K

max

and K

min

are the maximumand minimumSIF values

in a load cycle. The Paris equation reads

da

dN

= CK

m

, (2)

where m and C are the material and environment depen-

dent parameters, the C-value being, in addition, affected

by the stress ratio (R). Modifications of Eq. (1) have been

proposed in order to account for the effect of R and to

cover crack growth in the near threshold regime. A re-

view of various concepts can be found in the literature.

5,6

Alternative to K fracture mechanics parameters, for ex-

ample the crack opening displacement range (CTOD)

or the Rice integral range (J), are sometimes employed

to represent the CDF.

Elber

7

observed under constant amplitude (CA) pulsat-

ing tension that the fatigue crack was closed above the

minimum load of the cycle. He postulated that the crack

could not grow when the crack surfaces were in contact

and proposed that da/dN be related to the effective range

of SIF rather than to the total range. That effective range

is defined as

K

eff

= K

max

K

op

, (3)

where K

op

is the SIF level at which the crack becomes

fully open during uploading. The K

op

/K

max

-value in a

given cycle depends on the material and the preceding

load history.

A CDF parameter employed in a crack growth equation

and, hence, the computed a

i

depends on the current

crack size in cycle i. For that reason, consecutive a

i

increments are determined for consecutive upward stress

ranges in a load history, which implies a simple range

counting method. Essentially, the rainflow count, widely

applied in fatigue crack initiation analyses, can only be

used in the case of the equivalent SIF (K

eq

) approach (cf.

Fig. 1). As well known, a unique feature of the rainflow

techniques is that the largest load range, i.e. the variation

between the highest and the lowest minimum in a load-

time trace, is always counted. If, however, for a lengthy

load history considerable crack growth occurs between

the lowest minimum and the highest maximum, it may

be physically questionable to couple these two remote

events into one cycle. Applicability of the rainflow count

to fatigue crack growth is addressed by Skorupa

3

in the

context of the so-called incremental crack growth law by

de Koning.

8

E QUI VAL E NT S I F MODE L S

A basic idea behind the K

eq

approach, illustrated in

Fig. 2, is replacing a VA sequence with a CA sequence

defined by an equivalent stress range S

eq

corresponding

to a SIF range of K

eq

such that an average da/dN un-

der the VA sequence is the same as under the equivalent

CA loading. One of the earliest implementations of this

concept is the so-called Root Mean Square (RMS) model

proposed by Barsom

9

and subsequently modified by oth-

ers.

10

The value of K

eq

is assumed to correspond to an

equivalent stress range defined as S

RMS

= S

max RMS

S

min RMS

with

S

max RMS

=

_

1

m

m

i =1

(S

max i

)

2

; S

minRMS

=

_

1

m

m

i =1

(S

mini

)

2

,

(4)

where S

max i

and S

min i

are the consecutive extremes of

the actual VA load history comprising m cycles. Other

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2012 Wiley Publishing Ltd. Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 36, 293307

296 T. MACHNI EWI CZ

Fig. 2 Equivalent SIF concept.

Fig. 3 Post-OL plastic zones considered in Wheelers model.

proposals for adopting K

eq

can also be found in the liter-

ature, as reviewed by Skorupa

3

and Sander.

11

L I NE AR ( NON- I NT E RACT I ON) MODE L

The linear model ignores a dependency of the crack

growth increment in a given cycle on the preceding load

history. Hence, this approach is conceptually parallel to

fatigue life estimates employing Miners rule. For some

VA load histories, applying the linear model requires that

da/dN values over a wide range of R-ratios and in the

threshold regime be available. In general, a correlation

between the linear model predictions and experimental

results can only be obtained when overall load interaction

effects are negligible. This may occur when the retarda-

tion and acceleration phenomena cancel out.

PL AS T I C Z ONE MODE L S

Earliest load interaction models were proposed by Wil-

lenborg et al.

12

and Wheeler

13

in order to reproduce the

effect of a single overload (OL) on fatigue crack growth

rates. In both models it is assumed that da/dN becomes

reduced as long as the current plastic zone of size r

p

is

embedded within the OL plastic zone of size r

pOL

gen-

erated by the OL cycle at a crack length of a

OL

, Fig. 3.

Subsequent modifications of the Willenborg and Wheeler

models aimed at accounting for acceleration and reduced

retardation due to underloads (ULs).

Wheeler model

According to Wheelers model,

13

after an OL the fatigue

crack growth rate computed for K corresponding to the

current cycle is multiplied by a retardation factor

R

given

by

R

=

_

r

p

a

OL

+r

pOL

a

_

w

for a +r

p

< a

OL

+r

pOL

1 for a +r

p

a

OL

+r

pOL

,

(5)

where w is a parameter that must be derived empirically

for a given material and class of loading spectra.

Equation (5) implies that after an OL (i.e. for a > a

OL

)

R

adopts values below unity until a crack length at which

the current plastic zone touches the boundary of the OL-

induced plastic zone. Gray and Gallagher

14

redefined the

R

coefficient relating it to K

max

/K

max

, where K

max

is the

hypothetic K

max

value that would make the plastic zone

for the current crack length reach the boundary of the OL

plastic zone:

R

=

_

K

max

K

max

_2w

for K

max

< K

max

1 for K

max

K

max

.

(6)

In addition, the w exponent was expressed by Gray and

Gallagher as:

14

w =

m

2

__

log

K

K

th

__

log R

SO

_

(7)

where m is the exponent in the Paris equation, K

th

de-

notes the threshold SIF range and R

SO

is a value of the

OL ratio R

OL

= K

OL

max

/K

max

needed to arrest the crack.

Another attempt to improve the Wheeler model perfor-

mance was by Huang et al.

15

who addressed the influence

of an UL immediately following an OL in a load history.

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2012 Wiley Publishing Ltd. Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 36, 293307

FATI GUE CRACK GROWTH PREDI CTI ON MODELS FOR METALLI C MATERI ALS 297

The resulting modified expression for

R

was in the form:

R

=

_

r

p

a

OL

+r

pOL

a r

_

w

for a +r

p

< a

OL

+r

pOL

r

1 for a +r

p

a

OL

+r

pOL

r

,

(8)

where r

plastic zone and of the reversed plastic zone generated

after the UL.

The original model of Wheeler is included in the com-

mercially available AFGROW

16

software package.

Willenborg model

Willenborg et al.

12

assume that due to residual com-

pressive stresses within the OL plastic zone the extreme

K-values of a current load cycle (K

max

and K

min

) are re-

duced by an amount of K

red

, which yields a reduced crack

growth rate due to the corrected, lower R-ratio. In ad-

dition, in the case of K

min

< K

red

only a positive portion

of the K range is assumed to control the crack growth

rate. The K

red

-value corresponds to such an increase in

the current K

max

that would cause the current plastic zone

to touch the OL generated plastic zone boundary. Gal-

lagher

17

proposed a following equation for K

red

K

red

= K

OL

max

_

1

a a

OL

r

pOL

_1

2

K

max

, (9)

where K

OL

max

is the maximumSIF corresponding to the OL

cycle.

Against experimental observations indicating that the

R

SO

-value (cf. Eq. 7) is material and loading parameters

dependent, Eq. (9) implies crack arrest if the OL ratio

R

OL

= K

OL

max

/K

max

2 because in that case K

red

= K

max

immediately after the OL application (a =a

OL

). To avoid

the corresponding unconservative predictions Gallagher

and Hughes

18

proposed that K

red

be multiplied by a factor

defined as

=

1

K

th

K

(R

SO

1)

. (10)

The Willenborg model modified according to Gallagher

and Hughes is often referred to as the generalized Wil-

lenborg model. Another improvement of the Willenborg

model proposed by Brussat

19

and referred to as the modi-

fied generalized Willenborg model aimed at addressing a

reduction in crack growth retardation due to an UL. To

this end, a dependency of the factor (Eq. 10) on the UL

and OL levels was introduced according to the following

relationship:

=

2.523

0

1 +3.5(0.25 R

U

)

0.6

for R

U

< 0.25

1 for R

U

0.25

, (11)

where R

U

= S

UL

/S

OL

and

0

is a material constant de-

fined as the -value for R

U

= 0.

Another attempt to account in the Willenborg model

for acceleration and reduced retardation due to ULs was

by Chang and Engle.

20

The latter version is referred to as

the WalkerChangWillenborg model.

Three different versions of the Willenborg model,

all referred to earlier in this section, namely the gen-

eralized model, the modified generalized model and

the WalkerChangWillenborg model are available in

the NASGRO

19

software. The generalized Willenborg

model is also included in the AFGROW

16

software. An-

other interaction model available in the latter software

package and closely related to the plastic zone mod-

els is a Hsu model, which is an empirically based ap-

proach that borrows and builds on the concepts offered

by the Wheeler and Willenborg models, but also accounts

for Elbers crack closure mechanism. The Hsu model

is unable to predict crack growth under compression

compression cycles.

CRACK CL OS URE MODE L S

Because Elbers discovery of plasticity induced crack clo-

sure an opinion prevails that fatigue crack growth be-

haviour of metals is to a large extent controlled by this

mechanism. Especially the influence of the stress ratio,

stress level and thickness as well as load interaction phe-

nomena occurring under VA loading are attributed to

crack closure. Consequently, a number of crack growth

prediction models utilizing K

eff

(cf. Eq. 3) as the CDF

parameter have been developed. These type approaches

can be classified as semi-empirical models and SY models.

With the semi-empirical prediction concepts, the crack

opening stress (S

op

) corresponding to the K

op

level of SIF

is adjusted in every cycle according to specified rules em-

ploying material and loading dependent parameters. On

the contrary, the SY models involve a determination of

S

op

based on the computed distribution of local plastic

stretches behind the crack tip. Though none of the crack

closure models model imposes any limitations or require-

ments with respect to the load sequence or material, all

have been developed especially for applications to flight-

simulation loading on aircraft alloys.

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2012 Wiley Publishing Ltd. Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 36, 293307

298 T. MACHNI EWI CZ

Semi-empirical crack closure models

ONERA model

According to the ONERA model proposed by Baudin

and Robert,

21

K

op

in cycle i depends on equivalent K

levels, K

min,eq

and K

max,eq

, that are load history dependent

and must be adjusted in every cycle. Thus, K

max,eq,i

is a

minimumK

max,i

-value required to induce in the following

cycle a primary

a

plane stress plastic zone, while a change in

K

min,eq

betweentwo successive cycles is related to a change

in the applied loading between the previous (i1) and

current (i) cycle according to the following, empirically

derived relationship:

K

min,eq,i

= K

min,eq,i

K

min,eq,(i 1)

= (K

min,eq,i

K

min,eq,(i 1)

)

_

K

max,i

K

max,eq,i

_

2+t/2

,

(12)

where t is the material thickness in mm.

The resulting crack opening level in cycle i is expressed

as

K

op,i

= K

max,eq,i

(

ONR

f

1

(R

eq,i

) +(1

ONR

) f

2

(R

eq,i

)),

(13)

where R

eq,i

denotes an equivalent stress ratio (R

eq,i

=

K

min,eq,i

K

max,eq,i

), whilst f

1

and f

2

are empirical functions which

must be determined experimentally for a given material.

The

ONR

parameter can adopt values between zero and

unity, to make the K

op

fall between two extreme cases,

namely a CA loading (

ONR

= 0) and a single OL (

ONR

= 1).

PREFFAS model

With the PREFFAS model, first proposed by Aliaga

et al.

22

K

op

in a given cycle is defined as the maximum

value of crack opening levels K

op,i,j

computed for that

cycle considering the previous cycles j (1 j i):

K

op,i

= max(K

op,i, j

)

= max(K

max, j

U(K

max, j

K

min,Low

)).

(14a)

Here, K

min,Low

denotes the lowest K

min

-value for the con-

sidered cycles and the crack closure ratio U is expressed

as

U = A+ B R (14b)

where R = K

min,Low

/K

max,j

, whereas A and B are the ma-

terial and thickness dependent, empirically determined

constants.

a

A primary plastic zone is generated in material that has not been plastically

deformed before.

CORPUS model

The CORPUS model developed by de Koning and co-

workers

23,24

aimed at covering the effect of periodic OLs

on crack growth. Contrary to the ONERAand PREFFAS

models, material memory rules to account for load inter-

action effects adopted in CORPUS stem directly from

considering plastic deformations in the crack wake, which

is convincing from the plasticity induced crack closure

point of view. However, in contrast to the SY model ad-

dressed in the next section, some a priori assumptions

about the shape of the crack plastic wake are adopted. As

illustrated in Fig. 4, the fatigue crack surfaces are covered

with humps, each hump being associated with a plastic

zone generated at a previous maximumstress. Ahump cre-

ated during anupward load range canbe partially flattened

by subsequent downward ranges. Therefore, if an OL ap-

plied after smaller amplitude cycles generates a prominent

hump associated with elevating the crack opening level,

this effect can be partly annihilated by an UL, which re-

sults in a reduction in S

op

.

The S

op

-value is identified as the applied stress level at

which a last contact between the humps is lost (Fig. 4):

S

op

= max(S

op,n

), (15)

where S

op,n

corresponds to a hump created in cycle n, at a

crack length of a

n

, and associated with a plastic zone size

of r

p,n

. S

op,n

depends on the maximum stress in cycle n

(S

max,n

) and a minimum stress occurring after the subse-

quent loading history (S

min,n

) according to the following

rule:

S

op,n

=

_

0 for a > a

n

+r

p,n

g(S

max,n

S

min,n

) h for a

n

a a

n

+r

p,n

,

(16)

where g is the material and S

min,n

/S

max,n

ratio dependent

function, whilst the correction function h accounts for the

S

max,n

/

y

ratio,

y

being the material yield stress.

Plastic zones of various sizes can be generated during

crack growth under VA loading. The corresponding in-

formation must be stored as long as they can still affect

the crack opening level in subsequent cycles. It is assumed

that the influence of a previous cycle i on S

op

persists un-

til, in a current cycle j, a

j

+r

p,j

> a

i

+r

p,i

. In the case of

periodic OLs, each OL causes an increase in S

op

until a

limiting value given by

S

upperbound

op

= S

op,n

+m

st,n

_

S

max,n

S

op,n

_

(17)

is attained, where the m

s t,n

parameter depends on a ra-

tio of the crack growth increment between the OLs to

the plastic zone size generated by an OL prior to that

increment (a/r

p

). After an OL the m

st,n

-value initially

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2012 Wiley Publishing Ltd. Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 36, 293307

FATI GUE CRACK GROWTH PREDI CTI ON MODELS FOR METALLI C MATERI ALS 299

Fig. 4 Crack opening behaviour according to the CORPUS model.

Fig. 5 Schematic of discretized plastic strip in the strip yield model.

increases but it immediately drops to zero when the crack

grows beyond the last OL plastic zone (a/r

p

> 1).

Strip yield model

The SY model is based on the Dugdale theory of crack

tip plasticity modified to account for the crack closure

phenomenon. A conception of this type prediction model

was conceived by Dill and Saff,

25

but the first SY model

suitable for application in the case of arbitrary VA loading

sequences was developed by Newman.

26

Newman was the

first to formulate the model flow diagram, to develop an

S

op

computation procedure and to propose a means of

accounting for the 3D stress conditions at the crack tip.

As well known, according to the Dugdale theory the plas-

tic zone ahead of the crack tip is modelled as an infinitely

thin strip located in the net section ahead of the crack tip.

The strip length, i.e. the plastic zone size (r

p

), is equal to

the distance between the real crack tip and the fictitious

crack tip, Fig. 5. To make the fictitious COD for a x

a

fict

equal to the plastic deformation of the strip material,

the fictitious crack surface in this region is loaded with

a compressive yield stress (

y

). The concept is valid for

stationary crack. In order to adapt the Dugdale model to

the case of a growing fatigue crack, the strip material is

disconnected over a distance corresponding to the crack

growth increment. Consequently, a strip of plastically de-

formed material is building up in the crack wake. In that

case, the displacement compatibility between the plastic

strip and the surrounding elastic material requires apply-

ing stresses also on some segments in the crack wake (0

x < a) where the plastic elongation of the strip, L(x), ex-

ceeds the fictitious crack COD, V(x). Stresses applied in

the crack wake to make L(x) = V(x) are referred to as the

contact stresses. For computational purposes the problem

is discretized by dividing the strip into bar elements that

are intact ahead of the crack tip and broken behind it,

as shown in Fig. 5. Stresses and lengths of the strip ele-

ments are computed for a maximum and minimum load

of a given fatigue cycle by considering displacement com-

patibility conditions along the fictitious crack surface. A

solution for stresses and lengths of the strip elements be-

ing known, the S

op

stress is calculated, usually using one

of the methods proposed by Newman,

26,27

and the K

eff

parameter can be determined. Finally, the crack growth

increment incurred in that cycle is determined from the

da/dN versus K

eff

material input data, in line with El-

bers concept. The SY model is considered in more detail

in Part II of this paper.

RE S I DUAL S T RE S S MODE L S

Disparities between observed crack growth and that pre-

dicted from crack closure measurements as well as a fail-

ure of crack closure prediction models to reflect some

experimentally observed crack growth phenomena

prompted a development of alternative to crack closure

based prediction approaches. Several researches recog-

nize great significance of residual stresses ahead of the

crack tip for the fatigue crack growth behaviour, at the

same time questioning the influence of crack closure or

even neglecting the occurrence of this phenomenon.

2830

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2012 Wiley Publishing Ltd. Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 36, 293307

300 T. MACHNI EWI CZ

Fig. 6 Stress distributions considered in the UniGrow model at: (a) S

max

; (b) S

min

.

UniGrow model

Noroozi et al.

30

attribute load interaction effects in crack

growth, i.e. retardation or acceleration, to residual stresses

ahead of the crack tip. They assume that the residual stress

distribution in that region depends on the current crack

length and the load history. In their crack growth predic-

tion model termed UniGrow, da/dN is related to a SIF

range defined as K K

r

, where K

r

is the SIF value asso-

ciated with the residual stress distribution. An important

parameter in the model is the crack tip radius

, Fig. 6,

assumed to be material dependent. Because

is of a fi-

nite value, crack growth is predicted using a methodology

applicable to notched members. In UniGrow, a number

of cycles to grow the crack

increment is computed by

the local strain approach according to the MansonCoffin

equation. The local strain amplitude at the crack tip is es-

timated from Neubers rule utilizing a linear solution by

Creager and Paris

31

for the stress distribution ahead of a

blunted crack tip computed at the S

max

and S

min

applied

stresses, Fig. 6, and assuming the material constitutive re-

sponse according to the RambergOsgood relationship.

Because the phenomenon of crack closure is not mod-

elled, the distribution of residual stresses in the crack wake

at S

min

(contact stresses in terms of crack closure) is arbi-

trarily assumed to be a mirror image of the compressive

stress distribution ahead of the crack tip according to the

Creager and Paris solution.

31

Langs model

A crack growth prediction model developed by Lang

28,29

was intended for arbitrary irregular loading histories. The

CDF parameter was defined as

K

eff,L

= K

max

K

PR

K

T

, (18)

where K

T

is the intrinsic threshold and K

PR

is the K-

value (above K

min

) at which the stresses ahead of the crack

tip switch from compression to tension on uploading.

The above interpretation of K

PR

implies that the crack

growth rate in a given cycle is controlled by compressive

residual stresses generated during the preceding unload-

ing. According to Eq. (18), the onset of crack growth

(identified with da/dN of 1 10

7

mm/cycle) occurs

when, after exceeding the K

PR

level, the K

T

thresh-

old is overcome. Lang does not negate the occurrence

of crack closure, but considers it contribution negligible.

Measurements of both K

PR

and K

T

required to cali-

brate the model for a given material are extremely diffi-

cult and lengthy, as coupled with detecting crack growth

rates in the order of 10

7

mm/cycle. The K

PR

evolution

in the Lang model is govern by a number of empirical

equations. Rules for their application are formulated for

specific events in the load history, for example after a step

change in the SIF, after and OL, in the course of a block

of OLs, etc. Time-consuming experiments that would be

required to derive the governing equations for a new ma-

terial practically exclude applicability of Langs model by

independent users.

AFGROW closure model

The crack growth description with the so-called closure

model available in the AFGROW

16

software is appar-

ently in accordance with the crack closure concept, i.e.

da/dN is related to K

eff

defined by Eq. (3). However,

the determination of S

op

stems from premises very differ-

ent than in the case of crack closure based models as the

crack closure phenomenon is attributed to compressive

residual stresses in the reversed plastic zone ahead of the

crack tip rather than to the contact stresses behind the

crack tip. For that reason the AFGROW closure model

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FATI GUE CRACK GROWTH PREDI CTI ON MODELS FOR METALLI C MATERI ALS 301

can be counted among the residual stress concepts. The

S

op

stress is defined as a stress level at which the com-

pressive stresses are overcome by applied tensile loading.

Rules and constraints governing variations in S

op

under

VA loading stem mainly from the available experimental

evidence on crack growth behaviour for aircraft ALalloys.

Though, as said earlier, several other interaction predic-

tion approaches are available in AFGROW, the closure

model is commonly referred to in the literature as the

AFGROW model.

F E MODE L S

FE analyses provide a complete stress tensor, strain ten-

sor and displacement vector at any point of the model at

any applied load level. Hence, any CDF parameter linked

to the stress/strain/displacement behaviour of a cracked

body can be determined. Through-the-thickness, straight

front cracks are usually analysed using 2D FE models

assuming plane stress state or plane strain state condi-

tions,

3234

whilst a 3D modelling finds application in the

case of curvilinear 2Dor 3Dcracks

35,36

or when the effect

of thickness on local stresses in the crack vicinity is inves-

tigated.

37

Crack growth is usually modelled by releasing

successive nodes along the crack line. This implies that

values of successive crack growth increments are defined

by the mesh size, i.e. spacings between the nodes on the

crack path. In order to avoid unduly large crack growth

increments the mesh spacing along the crack line must

be sufficiently refined. Instructive data on the mesh suffi-

ciency to produce mesh independent results in the case of

2D FE models can be found in studies by McClung and

Sehitoglu

32

and Park et al.

33

The literature evidence indicates an extremely strong

dependency of the FE crack growth analysis results on a

number of computational choices, like the mesh size,

33

the material constitutive equation

34

and, in the case of

2D analyses, plain stress versus plain strain assumption.

For example, Sander et al.

38

reported a quarter of a K

range difference between the plane strain and plane stress

K

op

-values.

For broken elements behind the crack tip FE modelling

should assure the capability of carrying compressive (con-

tact) stresses and, at the same time, exclude their ability

to carry tensile stresses. To this end, a specific FE code

infrastructure, if available (e.g. the DEBOND option in

ABAQUS), or user-introduced techniques can be utilized.

For example, Pommier

34

applied spring elements to link

coincident nodes on the crack path. A crack growth incre-

ment was modelled by changing the stiffness of the spring

for a node just ahead of the crack tip from symmetric in

tension and compression to zero in tension, and a very

large value in compression.

A stable material response after a crack advance can only

be achieved when several loading cycles (between 2 and

5) are applied on the model. Hence, assigning to a given

crack length a proper cycle number, i.e. crack growth pre-

dictions, can only be done in a post-processing stage, uti-

lizing available from fatigue tests material data on da/dN

versus a chosen CDF parameter. However, such a pro-

cedure is not applicable for VA loading sequences. In

that case, crack length increments must correspond to

the consecutive loading cycles. FEcodes oriented towards

crack growth predictions for VAloading referred to as the

smoothed FEM(S-FEM) have beendeveloped by Kikuchi

et al.

36

and Kamaya et al.

39

With the S-FEM, a hierarchi-

cal modelling is applied, i.e. the total model area consists

of a global part and local parts, each one discretized in-

dependently. Due to this concept a change of the crack

geometry (e.g. crack length) is only associated with a re-

discretization of a small local region, while the meshing

of the rest of the model area remains undisturbed.

DI S CUS S I ON AND CONCL US I ONS

Reported in the literature prediction results from models

reviewed in this paper suggest that the adequacy of a given

concept is strongly related to the type of material and

loading. This implies that a universal model, that is the

one adequate for an arbitrary loading once calibrated for

a given material, is still lacking. Efforts into developing

such a prediction approach can either involve a totally new

conception or an improvement of one of already available

models. In the latter case it is obvious that a selected model

should be characterized by possibly few constraints on its

applicability and a possibly small amount of empiricism.

The linear model which, by definition, does not account

for load interaction effects is evidently off a list and can

only serve as a tool to quantify the magnitude of load in-

teraction phenomena for a given VA load sequence. Fig-

ure 7 gives fatigue crack growth rates experimentally ob-

served (open symbols) and predicted by the linear model

(closed symbols) for M(T) specimens from the D16 Al

alloy (Russian equivalent of 2024-T3) subject to the mini-

FALSTAFFflight-simulation load spectrum. Three char-

acteristic stress levels (S

max

) are considered. The predicted

da/dN-values, which are two to three times higher than

the measured data, indicate that significant crack growth

retardation has occurred under this load sequence.

When the equivalent SIF concept is used, criteria for

making the best choice for K

eq

are difficult to be rational-

ized as the approach has no physical basis. According to

Sander and Richard,

40

the K

eq

model can yield acceptable

predictions only when the VA load sequence represents

a stochastic uniform distribution. However, Schijves re-

sults

41

suggest that it is a necessary but not a sufficient

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302 T. MACHNI EWI CZ

Fig. 7 Comparison of fatigue crack growth rates observed in the D16 Al alloy under miniFALSTAFF sequences and predictions from the

non-interaction model.

criterion for the adequacy of this type approaches. The

available literature evidence reviewed by Skorupa

3

sug-

gests that it depends on both the type of VA loading

history and material which K

eq

parameter will be most

adequate.

The Wheeler model is one of the most empirical load

interaction models and its results are strongly dependent

on the w parameter that must be determined for a given

material fromtests under a spectrumand stress level sim-

ilar to the actual case. As such, it can be considered a

relative approach, which assumes that similar load histo-

ries applied on the same detail produce similar interaction

effects in fatigue crack growth. In fact, the literature evi-

dence shows that a satisfactory prediction accuracy from

the Wheeler model can only be obtained if the considered

spectrum is similar to that previously used to determine

the w-value.

3,42

The weak point of the model is that cri-

teria for the spectrum similarity are not precisely defined.

It should be emphasized that both the original and the

generalized Willenborg model will never yield a life pre-

diction that is less than the non-interaction prediction.

Hence, satisfactory results can be obtained for spectra

dominated by OLs, and therefore inducing crack growth

retardation. As an example may serve crack growth pre-

dictions fromthe generalized Willenborg model reported

recently by Ghidini and Donne

43

for Al alloy specimens.

For spectra with a large percentage of compression loads,

the modified generalized Willenborg model referred to

above as well as other concepts proposed to account for

acceleration and reduced retardation due to ULs (e.g. the

WalkerChangWillenborg model

20

) show significantly

improved predictive accuracy compared to the original

concepts. This is, however, achieved at the cost of in-

troducing various empirical parameters, which must be

determined for a given material from tests under some

simple VA sequences. Note that the original Willenborg

model does not incorporate empirical parameters besides

the yield stress.

When applying the plastic zone models to predict OL

effects on crack growth it cannot be overlooked that nei-

ther the Wheeler nor the Willenborg model in both the

original and modified form offer a means to predict the

delayed crack growth retardation, as well as the retarda-

tion zone exceeding the OL plastic zone. The latter phe-

nomenon is well documented in the literature, including

results by the present author and co-workers.

44

A sat-

isfactory correspondence between predictions from the

plastic zone models and experiment could be obtained

either for some specific load histories, as in a work by

Sander and Richard,

45

who applied the modified Wheeler

model, or when additional empirical material and loading

dependent parameters were introduced to reflect the de-

layed retardation phenomenon in the modified Weeler

model, as demonstrated in a study by Yuen and Taheri.

42

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FATI GUE CRACK GROWTH PREDI CTI ON MODELS FOR METALLI C MATERI ALS 303

Fig. 8 Fatigue crack growth rates observed in the 350WT steel and predicted using the original and modified Wheeler model

42

: (a) single

OL; (b) sequence with multiple OLs.

According to these authors, in order to more accurately

predict the OL effect, namely the transient crack growth

acceleration immediately after the OL, the subsequent

delayed retardation, and the interaction between multiple

OLs, three additional material/loading dependent param-

eters referred to as the delay parameter, OL interaction

parameter and the accelerated SIF range were required in

the Wheeler model, in addition to the retardation factor

R

(cf. Eq. 5). Only the model modified in the above way

allowed for a fairly adequate prediction of each stage of

the post-OL crack growth and load interaction effects for

a sequence with periodically repeated OLs, as it is seen in

Fig. 8a and b respectively.

Padmadinata

46

evaluated performance of the three semi-

empirical crack closure models addressed in Crack clo-

sure models section by comparing their predictions with

crack growth observed in specimens from two aircraft Al

alloys (Al 2024-T3 and 7075-T6) under VAsimplified and

standard flight simulation loading. Specifically, the mod-

els capability of reproducing various experimental trends

due to the change of some loading parameters, as for ex-

ample the ground stress level or gust spectrumseverity, or

due to the change of sheet thickness was vetted. Though

for the flight simulation histories a systematic effect of

the ground stress level was exhibited in the fatigue tests,

the PREFFAS model did not predict any influence of the

severity of the ground load because all negative loads were

clipped to zero. As pointed out by Schijve,

47

another lim-

itation of the PREFFAS model is ignoring the effect of

crack advance on K

op

(cf. Eq. 14), which is acceptable only

when the a increment is much smaller than the plastic

zone size associated with the peak K

max

. Consequently,

the PREFFAS model is not adequate in cases when sig-

nificant a can occur, i.e. at higher crack growth rates

and/or for long, periodically applied OL blocks. Con-

trary to the PREFFAS model results, predictions of the

CORPUS and ONERA models reported by Padmadinata

did indicate a significant reduction in crack growth live

with a more severe ground stress level, but the COR-

PUS model missed this trend when the gust load in flight

simulation loading was severe, i.e. if the maximum com-

pressive gust load (occurring once in 2500 flights) was be-

low the ground load level, and when OLUL or OLUL

combinations occurred in simplified load sequences. Pad-

madinata

46

introduced a modification in the CORPUS

model to remove this deficiency. Figure 9 presents com-

parisons between crack growth lives observed in fatigue

tests on the 2024-T3 Al alloy under simplified flight sim-

ulation loading sequences of two types and the lives ob-

tained from the semi-empirical crack closure models, the

linear model and a SY model from the NASGRO

19

soft-

ware (variable constraint-loss version, see Part II of this

paper). The results are presented in terms of the pre-

dicted to experimentally observed life ratio N

PRED

/N

EXP

.

It is seen that of the semi-empirical models the modified

CORPUS correlates best the test results. Note also that

for some specific combinations of the load sequence and

loading parameters, predictions from the semi-empirical

models (mainly PREFFAS and ONERA) are worse than

according to the linear model, which implies an overes-

timation of load interaction. Interestingly, the results in

Fig. 9 reveal in several cases a somewhat inferior accuracy

of the SY model compared to the semi-empirical models.

It should be however, emphasized, that in contrast to the

semi-empirical models, which have been tuned to describe

crack growth under the specific load histories considered

in Fig. 9 (flight simulation), no constraints of this type

are imposed on crack closure variations in the SY model.

Also, it is worth noting that except for sequence no. 7,

the SY model predictions are on the safe side, though the

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304 T. MACHNI EWI CZ

Fig. 9 Predicted-to-observed life ratios according to different models for simplified flight simulation loading sequences on the 2024-T3 Al

alloy (stress levels in MPa).

amount on conservatism involved in the predictions can

be overly excessive, as for sequences 6, 8, 10 and 12.

For semi-elliptical surface cracks in plane specimens

of Al alloys under simplified (programmed) and stan-

dard flight simulation loading Ichsan

48

reported a fairly

good correlation between CORPUS model results and

observed crack growth, including crack front shape de-

velopment predictions. However, it cannot be overlooked

that the evaluation of semi-empirical model prediction ca-

pabilities in the above cited works

4648

is limited to crack

growth under specific aircraft loading spectra and typical

aircraft materials. For other types of loading and other

materials much less acceptable results were obtained. For

example, Skorupa et al.

49

noted unsatisfactory CORPUS

model predictions on crack growth in plane specimens

of a low alloy steel under single and periodically applied

OLs.

The UniGrow model addressed in Residual stress mod-

els section involves a determination of the local stresses

(

min,net

, Fig. 6) assuming a blunted crack tip of the same

radius

at both S

max

and S

min

. This implies negation

of the crack tip sharpening at S

min

, which may be con-

sidered a disputable concept. An early validation of the

UniGrow model produced by Noroozi et al.

30,50

was con-

fined to CA loading, while predictions on the post-OL

crack growth response were not satisfactory, Fig. 10a. In

a more recent work, Mikheevskiy and Glinka

51

demon-

strated a very good correlation between predictions of

the improved UniGrow model and experimental results

for various materials and various types of VA loading, as

exemplified in Fig. 10b. Because detailed information on

adjusting the K-factor during the VA load sequence is

lacking in this work, it is difficult to assess how general

are the concepts involved.

As already elucidated in FE models section, FE crack

growth models can hardly be applied to real predictions.

Rather, they are a useful tool to study the effect of some

specific loading events on the local stress/strain field.

A better understanding of the crack growth mechanism

gained in this way can then be utilized in crack growth

prediction approaches.

A unique feature of the SY model is that for each load-

ing cycle the S

op

stress, and hence K

eff

, is determined

in a consistent way, based on the computed solution for

plastic strip element stresses and lengths at consecutive

extremes of the load history (cf. Strip Yield model sec-

tion). This is in contrast to all other prediction models

addressed in this paper, which require adjusting the CDF

parameter according to some empirically based rules re-

lated to specific occurrences in a load sequence. Because

a theoretical foundation behind the SY model makes it

capable of reflecting any trend observed in crack growth,

no limitations on the type of VA loading are imposed,

as in the case of other models. For the above reasons,

the SY model can be currently considered a most ver-

satile and robust crack growth prediction concept. Re-

ported SY model analyses of crack growth indicate that

it can describe a number of crack growth phenomena

that cannot be reproduced by any other prediction model,

such as for example delayed retardation after an OL, ef-

fect of periodically applied OLs, or the OL-influenced

zone larger than the OL plastic zone.

26,52

At the same

time, the literature evidence on a quantitative correlation

between SYmodel predictions and observed crack growth

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FATI GUE CRACK GROWTH PREDI CTI ON MODELS FOR METALLI C MATERI ALS 305

Fig. 10 Comparison of fatigue crack growth data observed and predicted by using the UniGrow model: (a) 7075-T6 Al alloy, single OL;

50

(b) 350WT steel, sequence with two OLs.

51

is inconsistent in that it reveals both a very good,

53

and

a poor agreement,

11

even for load histories of the same

type. Areason for contradictory data on the model predic-

tive capabilities is differences between specific SY model

implementations. Possible choices and decisions when de-

veloping a SY model and their far-reaching consequence

for the model results are considered in detail in Part II of

this paper.

When in a prediction model a range of SIF is employed

as the CDF parameter, the model applicability to real-

work problems is conditioned by the availability of an

appropriate K-solution. A number of K-solutions which

can be useful for practical problems are available in NAS-

GRO

19

and AFGROW.

16

When analyses with prediction

models incorporated in these software packages are run,

also user-introduced correction factors can be applied on

top of the K-solutions already available in the programme.

Alternatively, it is possible to use an external K-solver that

communicates with AFGROW, though this approach can

be very time-consuming. Crack growth predictions for

interacting multiple cracks growing simultaneously in a

structure are currently not possible using the NASGRO

and AFGROW models. This issue is of practical impor-

tance in the case of multi-site damage in joints with me-

chanical fasteners, and the corresponding K-solutions and

crack growth prediction approaches are amply covered in

the recent book by Skorupa A. and Skorupa M.

54

In the case of the SY model a solution for the crack sur-

face displacements is needed, in addition to the solution

for K. The approach allowing the treatment of any ge-

ometry of interest using the SY model is covered in Part

II of this paper.

Acknowledgement

This paper owes much to the support and helpful com-

ments of Professor Magorzata Skorupa, AGHUniversity

of Science and Technology.

The financial support from the governmental research

funds within the years 20092012 is acknowledged.

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