Crack growth resistance characterized by the strain energy density function

G. C. Sih, E. Madenci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Stable ductile fracture of a typical metal alloy is found to be governed by the condition dS da = const., i.e. the rate change of the strain energy density S with crack length 2a (or a) remained constant. Since fracture and/or yielding are load rate dependent, the incremental theory of plasticity is employed for analyzing crack growth where unloading in the material near the crack can take place. Attention is focused on the energy per unit volume, dW/dV, stored along the prospective path of crack growth. The nearest neighbor continuum element must necessarily be at a finite distance r from the crack front. This leads to the general relation dW dV = S/R. The critical value ( dW dV)c representing the area under the uniaxial true stress and strain curve is assumed to correspond with failure of material elements. If yielding and unloading occurred locally, a certain amount of irrecoverable energy will not be available for dissipation during macrocracking. Hence, the threshold energy density must be modified to read as ( dW dV)c* < ( dW dV)c. The quantity ( dW dV)c may be regarded as the crack growth resistance whose magnitude decreases with increasing distance from the crack tip at which point yielding is most intensified. The results are displayed graphically and shown that the condition dS da = const. provides a rational means of collating and interpreting ductile fracture data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1159-1171
Number of pages13
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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