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Effects of non-proportional loading paths on the orientation of fatigue crack path

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Fatigue crack path prediction and crack arrest are very important for structural safety. In real engineering structures, there are many factors influencing the fatigue crack paths, such as the material type (microstructure), structural geometry and loading path, etc. In this paper, both experimental and numerical methods are applied to study the effects of loading path on crack orientations. Experiments were conducted on a biaxial testing machine, using specimens made of two steels: 42CrMo4 and CK45 (equivalent to AISI 1045), with six different biaxial loading paths. Fractographical analyses of the plane of the stage I crack propagation were carried out and the crack orientations were measured using optical microscopy. The multiaxial fatigue models, such as the critical plane models and also the energy-based critical plane models, were applied for predicting the orientation of the critical plane. Comparisons of the predicted orientation of the damage plane with the experimental observations show that the shear-based multiaxial fatigue models provide good predictions for stage I crack growth for the ductile materials studied in this paper.

Keywords: crack path; fatigue life prediction; multiaxial fatigue; non-proportional loading; proportional loading

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2005

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