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Crack growth rate and fatigue life

We want to determine the growth rate of a crack, which grows from the edge of a very large
thin rectangular plate made of aluminium. Loading is cyclic in Mode I and the stress is
applied perpendicular to the crack at the top and bottom edges of the plate. The stress range
is ∆σ = 50 MPa. The average stress is zero. In the next table some parameters are given.

Initial crack length a0 1.0e-4 m


Critical crack length ac 28e-3 m
Paris law coefficient C 4.56e-11 !
Paris law exponent m 2.9 -

• What is the consistent unit for C ?


• Write a Matlab script, which calculates the crack length as a function of the number of
cycles.
(NB: This Paris law script will be used in the next exercises.)
• Plot the crack length (linear axis) as a function of the number of cycles (logarithmic
axis).
• What is the number of cycles to failure?

Influence of initial crack length


The initial crack length has a big influence on the fatigue life. This can be investigated with
the Matlab script from the first exercise.

The plate with edge crack is considered once more. Again the material of the plate is an
aluminium alloy. The cyclic loading has a stress range ∆σ = 50 MPa with R = −1. Given
parameters are listed in the next table.

Young’s modulus E 70 GPa



Critical SIF KIc 20e6 Pa m
Paris law coefficient C 3.84e-11 !
Paris law exponent m 3.1 -

• Calculate the critical crack length, which has to be used in the Paris law script from
the first exercise.
• Calculate the number of cycles to failure for initial crack lengths
a0 = 1e-3 m and a0 = 1e-4 m.
• Plot the crack length as a function of the number of cycles.
Determination of initial crack length
In many cases, the initial crack length is unknown. It can be determined, when the number
of cycles to failure and the final crack length are known.

In this exercise we investigate thin aluminium plates with different initial cracks, which are
unknown and have to be determined experimentally. Each plate is tested with a cyclic load
in Mode I where ∆σ = 50 MPa and R = −1. It is observed that all plates fail by the growth
of an edge crack.

Paris law parameters are :

Paris law coefficient C 4.56e-11 !


Paris law exponent m 2.9 -

Three plates are tested with different critical (= final) crack lengths : ac = {0.2, 4, 12} mm.
The number of cycles to failure are respectively : Nf = {205400, 657380, 2045700}.

• Determine the initial crack lengths for the quoted experimental data.
(NB: the paris law script from the first exercise has to be adapted, because time (=
number of cycles) is reversed.)

• Plot the crack length as a function of the number of cycles.


Try different axis settings (plot, semilogx, loglog ).

SN-curve from Paris law


Paris law can be used to generate an SN-curve.

The crack is again growing from the plate edge and is loaded in Mode I. The data are :

Initial crack length a0 1e-5 m


Critical crack length ac 1e-1 m
Paris law coefficient C 1.0e-11 !
Paris law exponent m 3.1 -

• Generate the SN-curve for the stress range 25 ≤ ∆σ ≤ 500.