The Growth of Surface Microcracks in Fatigue

[+] Author and Article Information
P. H. Francis

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas

J. Basic Eng 91(4), 770-779 (Dec 01, 1969) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3571220 History: Received July 02, 1969; Online November 03, 2011


An analytical theory is proposed for describing the growth of a small surface “microcrack” under uniaxial fatigue loading. The theory is based upon dimensional analysis and uses the stress-intensity factor and crack extension force concepts of elastic fracture mechanics. Experimental measurements were made of the growth of surface micro-cracks, ranging from 0.0005–0.040 in. long, in polished specimens of 4340 steel. Good correlation was achieved in comparing the test results with the theoretical predictions. Finally, an approach is indicated for extending the analytical model to the prediction of fatigue failure.

Copyright © 1969 by ASME
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