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‘Arching’ effect in elastic polycrystals: implications for the variability of fatigue lives

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The paper deals with a study of heterogeneous stress and strain distribution in polycrystals in relation with elastic anisotropy of grains. A similitude with the arching effect widely studied in granular materials is proposed and this concept is extended to heterogeneous polycrystals in which the load transfer is not binary in the way it is in granular media but may vary significantly and suddenly from one grain to another according to the crystal orientation to the load direction. Experiments and 3D finite element analyses show that though the individual orientation of grains is random, the strain and stress distribution is not. A network is formed inside the polycrystal whose scale is larger than the grain size. The load percolation network consists in heavily loaded links whose direction is coincident with the direction of the principal stresses. So, the typical scale for the variability of the local stresses is not the grain size but the size of the load percolation network. Since this scale is found to be rather large in particular for iron, zinc and copper, this effect should contribute significantly to the variability of the fatigue lives of notched vs. smooth components.
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Keywords: anisotropy; crystal; elasticity; percolation; scale effect; statistic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ecole Centrale Paris, Laboratoire M.S.S.-Mat, CNRS UMR 8579, Chatenay Malabry 92295, France.

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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