Effect of pre-crack non-uniformity for mini-CT geometry in ductile tearing regime

Research outputpeer-review


The mini-CT specimen attracts the attention from all over the world for application in fracture toughness measurement. However, one of the shortcomings of this geometry is related to the required tight accuracy of the specimen dimensions, in particular the fatigue pre-crack curvature which often violates the requirements of the ASTM standards. Given the limited thickness of mini-CT geometry, non-uniform pre-crack tends to develop during fatigue pre-cracking, resulting in a large proportion of mini-CT specimens being considered invalid. Previous investigations have demonstrated that mini-CT specimens with excessive crack front curvature can still provide meaningful fracture toughness results. In this paper, the effect of pre-crack front non-uniformity on ductile fracture is studied: first, the difference of macro parameters such as the applied load, J-integral and crack tip stress–strain field are investigated to illustrate the varying fracture behavior related to non-uniform pre-crack. Next, two micro-mechanics-based approaches, the Rice-Tracey void growth model and Thomason void coalescence model, are integrated to compare the ductile fracture initiation conditions associated with uniform and non-uniform fatigue pre-crack. Finally, the experimental verification of the ductile fracture simulations is performed for mini-CT specimens with uniform and 30° tilted initial cracks. The results indicate that the pre-crack non-uniformity plays a major role in the redistribution of local J-integral and stress–strain state, further affects the position of crack initiation and the early stages of crack propagation. Nevertheless, the pre-crack non-uniformity has limited effect on the global properties that are usually expected from fracture toughness tests, such as applied load, J-R curve and critical fracture toughness. The requirements in the ASTM E1820 regarding pre-crack front curvature need thus to be relaxed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103946
Number of pages20
JournalTheoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics
StatePublished - Aug 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Materials Science

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