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Engineering Fracture Mechanics Vol. 53, No. 2. pp. 303-308. 1996 Copyright 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd 0013-7944(95)00091-7 Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved 0013-7944/96 $15.00 + 0.00

B. N A G E S W A R A RAO and A. R. A C H A R Y A Structural Engineering Group, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum 695 022, India A ~ t r a c t - - A high strength low alloy steel, having composition similar to A F N O R 15CDV6 steel but with higher carbon content, has been developed indigenously following the Electroslag Refining (ESR) process. Fracture toughness parameters are evaluated from the R-curve of this new material. Using these parameters, a failure assessment diagram (FAD) is generated to quantify the effects of the presence of cracks on material strength. Fracture strengths of centre surface cracked plates under tension are evaluated and the results compare well with the test results.

CONVENTIONALSTRUCTURALdesign is based on the concepts of continuum mechanics according to which the large reserve of ductility, as given by a standard tensile test, is essential to prevent failure. Every metallic structure, in general, contains crack-like defects which are either inherent in the material or get introduced during the fabrication process. In such situations, ductility does not provide a sound basis for assessment of vulnerability of cracked body structures and design criteria which consider only the tensile strength properties of the material are insufficient. Additional considerations based on fracture mechanics are necessary. In order to quantify the effects of the presence of cracks on material strength, a simple elasto-plastic fracture mechanics procedure was established in refs [1-6] using a modification as suggested by Newman [7]. The objective of this study is to examine how well the established three-parameter fracture criterion can correlate the fracture data for the Compact Tension (CT) specimens and Surface Cracked Tension (SCT) specimens of a high strength medium carbon low alloy steel of the type currently used in launch vehicle development. It is found that the computed failure loads compare well with the test results of CT and SCT specimens.

An empirical relationship between the failure stress and stress intensity factor at failure is established here using the crack growth resistance curve (R-curve), generated from a Compact Tension (CT) specimen. This relationship can be used to determine the fracture strength for all cracked (through or part-through) configurations. ASTM E-561 standards [8] give the full details of the determination of the R-curve through CT specimens [Fig. I(a)]. A smooth R-curve can be developed by selecting a minimum of 10-15 data points on the recorded plot of load (P) vs displacement (V). In the present analysis, the load displacement plot [Fig. I(b)] is represented empirically by a Ramberg-Osgood three-parameter equation as

v= ~

+ k


Three points on the curve are required for the evaluation of the three constants, M, k and n, in eq. (I). For the most accurate representation of the experimental load vs displacement plot, it is necessary to select a point A (Vo, Po) in the linear portion, a point C (V.,~, P~,x) at the initiation of the instability and a third point B ( V , P]) at the location as indicated in Fig. l(b). With these three points, the material parameters M, k and n in eq. (I) are obtained as



P,, n = ln(~ pPoV,-P,VVo/ i~/, (P~) \ ~ ~ ,;) n ~( ,

k = \-

{PoV--P, Vo)(M)"" '~c, ] -fit

To account for various uncertainties in testing an effective modulus, E,, can be determined from [9]
EmBG~ = p,, 1 + 0.25"~ t l_---Z~0], .6137 + 12.678 ~ : 0 - 1 4 . 2 3 1 ~ - 16.610 ~]+35.050 ~ - 1 4 . 4 9 4 ~d), ,, ,j f l + "'~-'tl


where a0 4. = - ~ , 303


Technical Note

(a) P

?:~2-- c

d V Front face / ~ displacement gauge location






Crack extension curve

1.25 W

Kma~ f I ~KR (resistance curve)



~ Aamax

Fig. 1. (a) CT specimen. (b) Load~lisplacement plot. (c) R-curve.

W is the width and B is the thickness of the CT specimen. The test is valid only if the effective modulus (E~) deviates from the elastic modulus (E) by less than 10%. The initial crack size, ao, in general, is obtained from the broken specimen by taking three-point weighted averages through the thickness (4a0 = a~ +2a~ + a3), where at and as are surface values and a_, is the value in the middle of the specimen. The difference between any two of the three crack length measurements shall not exceed 10% of the average. The effective crack length (which is the total physical crack length plus a correction for plastic zone), a = a~,, for the applied load, P E (0,P~], is obtained from [9] a - ~ = 1.0010 -- 4.6695t/+ 18.460t/2 -- 236.82q ~ + 1214.9q 4 - 2143.6r/5, W where (3)

The value of the front-face displacement (V) in eq. (3) for the applied load (P) is obtained by using eq. (1). After determining the effective crack length, a ( -= a~r), corresponding to the applied load, P, from eq. (3), the stress intensity factor, K ( ~- KR) is determined from [7 I 1]
P . 17/

where J ( : ) = (2 + 4) (1 - ~)-~:2(0.886 + 4.64~ - 13.32-' + 14.72: -~- 5.64~'). The load--displacement curves in general are not perfectly elastic, but exhibit different degrees of nonlinearity. After considerable experimentation, ASTM E399 standard suggests the load Po at a 5% secant offset defines Ko as the critical stress intensity factor at which the crack reaches an effective length, a~:, equal to 2% greater than the initial crack length, a0. To establish that a valid plane strain fracture toughness, K~c has been determined, it is first necessary to calculate the ratio Pmax/PQ.If this ratio does not exceed 1.10, we proceed to calculate 2.5(Ko/ay~)'-, where ay~ is 0.2% proof stress or yield strength of the material. If this quantity is less than both the specimen thickness (B) and the crack length (a,0 then Ko = Kjc. It should be noted that if Ktc or Ko is used as a critical stress inensity factor for the CT specimen, then the critical load of the CT specimen corresponds to Po whereas the actual value of the critical load is P ..... which is higher than the predicted value of Po. It was verified in the literature that the crack growth driving force of CT specimens will touch the crack growth resistance curve (R-curve) only for the load, P = P .... Hence, the R-curve of the material is essential for the evaluation of the critical load, Pm~ of the CT specimen. The crack growth resistance curve (R-curve) as shown in Fig. I(c) is obtained by determining K from eq. (4) for various values of P ~ (0, Pm~]. The R-curve can be represented with crack extension, Aa and K ( =- KR) as

Aa = CR(KR)'%


where Aa = a~ -- a0, CR and nR are material constants. The stress intensity factor, Km~ and the crack length, am. at the initiation of instability are at the point of tangency between the crack extension curve and R-curve [Fig. l(c)]. It should

Technical Note


be noted that Km,,~is geometry dependent whereas the R-curve is considered as a material property which is independent of geometry except thickness. A relation is obtained at the initiation of instability by matching the crack driving force curve of the CT specimen and its slope to the crack extension curve and its slope as


(~,, + ,J,,'~ f

.../o,> + ~o'~-'

) t"""



where prime denotes differentiation with respect to a. After determining the crack extension, Aa ( =--Aam~x) at the initiation of instability from eq. (6) by an iterative process, the stress intensity factor, Km~ at the initiation of instability can be obtained directly from eq. (5) as Km~ = (Aam~x) '''~ . ~ The maximum load, Pm.x for CT specimens is obtained from eqs (4), (6) and (7) as Pm~



where am,~ = a. + ~arn~. The elastic nominal (net-section) stress at failure, af and the nominal stress required to produce a fully plastic region (or hinge) on the net section, ao for CT specimens are given by [7, 11]

ema= (l + 3g) B W (1 - - 4 ) '


a. = (I + 3Z){(l + ;(2),2 _ Z}aot, where 1+4 Z= ~ andSa ~/.

When the fracture stress (at) is less than the yield strength (Oy~)of the material, the relation between the stress intensity factor, K...... and the stress, af, at failure can be written in the form [7]

The fracture toughness parameters, Kr and m in eq. (11) are determined by a least-square fit to the data of K,,,~x, ~r and ~r~ for a wide range of crack lengths of CT specimens, generated from the R-curve of the material. If m equals zero in eq. (1 I), K~-equals the elastic stress intensity factor at failure and the equation applies to low-toughness (low Kr) materials (plane strain fracture). However, if m equals unity, the equation applies to extremely ductile or high-toughness (high Kv) materials. Thus, the fracture parameters, K~ and m, jointly describe the crack sensitivity of the material. After determining the fracture toughness parameters, KF and m for the material, eq. (11) can be used to predict the fracture strength for any cracked configurations, by substituting the corresponding stress intensity factor at failure, K~,~, which is a function of failure stress (at), geometry and size of the crack. Using eq. (11), one can write the following equation to determine o~ for a centre through-crack specimen under tension:

sectw) ) ~ ,


where a. is half the crack length. The stress intensity equation for a centre through-crack specimen under tension is given by

.= + a




o', = o',.,.

If the material parameter, m < 1, eq. (12) gives ~rr > ~. for small crack dimensions. Chell [12] has examined the fracture strength vs critical crack size by theoretical and experimental results. If one draws a tangent from the value of ~o on the fracture strength axis to the theoretical fracture strength curve, the experimental data are expected to be above the tangent line or on the theoretical curve. This phenomenon is observed in Fig. 9 of ref. [13], which represents gross fracture stress vs crack size for 6.35 mm thick 4340 steel containing surface cracks. For generation of a fracture strength curve to the design of a structural component, ref. [14] suggests to omit the portion of the theoretical curve above the tangent line and consider the tangent line with the remaining portion of the theoretical curve. By specifying a crack size o f 2at, and the corresponding fracture strength, at, from the fracture strength design curve, the stress intensity factor at failure, Km,~, is determined. The curve generated from the values of ar and K,,~= represents a failure assessment diagram which is empirically represented by m
O'r i,


EFM ~3~--Ii


Technical Note

The additional parameter, p, in eq. (15) is obtained by fitting the data of at and K=,x related to smaller crack dimensions. Whenever m is found to be greater than unity, the parameter m has to be truncated to 1.0 by suitably modifying the parameter Kv with the fracture data. The third term in eq. (15) becomes insignificant when m is close to unity. The elastic stress intensity factor at failure (Km,,~) and the nominal failure stress (at) for CT specimens given in eqs (4), (9) and (10) can be expressed in a short form as K.,.~ = P,~.x.fK(a,B,W)
aria,, = P,..,,.f~(a,B. W,o'.,).

(16) (17)

Using eqs (16) and (17) in eq. (15), one can set up the following equation to determine the maximum load, P .... for a specified crack size of CT specimen: (1 - rn)(f.Pm,x) j ' - {mr, +.lk/Kv}P.,.x - I = 0. (18)

The nonlinear eq. (18) is solved for P ..... using the Newton-Raphson method. For the value of m close to unity, the maximum load for CT specimens is,
P .... Kr ( K ~ f . + f K ) - ' .


For a centre-surface cracked plate subjected to a uniform stress, a .... the elastic nominal stress (at) and elastic stress intensity factor (K.,,x) at failure are given by [15]
a t = a,.,,~ 12BW ] '

(20) (21)

Kin,,,, = e r x / ~ F ,



+ 1.464 c

for c < l '

M, = 1 . 1 3 - 0 . 0 9 ( a ) ,

M_, = - 0.54 + 0.89 0.2 +

a)-'+ 14(1-a) -~',


1; =

q~ + sin-"
a 12

0}4 })
, 12

a is the depth and c is half the length of a surface crack. 4 = 0 gives the value of F near the surface of the crack whereas

gives the value o f F at the deepest point on the crack periphery. The maximum value of F in the range of 4~ between 0 and re/2 should be considered for determining the fracture strength of the cracked plate. For centre-surface cracked specimen, au = ~l,. (22)

Using eqs (20) and (21) in eq. (15), one can set up the following equation to determine the nominal failure stress, af for a specified crack size of SCT specimen as (1 - m)(ar/a~) p + {m + a u , J ~ F / K v } ( a f / a , , ) -- I = 0. (23)

The nonlinear eq. (23) is solved for af using the Newton-Raphson method. For the value o f m close to unity, the fracture stress, ar for the surface cracked tension (SCT) specimen,
ar = eu{ 1 + a , V / - ~ F / K F } - '.


Technical Note Table 1. Fracture analysis of compact tension (CT) specimens Dimensions (mm) Thickness B Width W 7.54 7.54 7.53 7.53 7.54 7.54 7.53 7.54 29.95 29.98 29.96 29.96 29.97 29.97 29.98 30.01 Crack length a0 14.33 14.83 14.76 15.06 14.45 14.92 15.18 15.04 Max. failure load Pm,x (kN) Test Analysis 16.96 15.98 16.28 16.18 16.92 16.87 15.59 15.98 16.12 15.27 15.37 14.83 15.92 15.11 14.66 14.95


Relative error (%) 4.98 4.45 5.6 8.33 5.91 10.4 5.98 6.49




A high strength low alloy steel, having composition similar to A F N O R 15CDV6 steel but with higher carbon content, has been developed indigenously following the Electroslag Refining process. The low alloy steel contains 0.274).30% carbon, 0.8-1.0% manganese, 1.25-1.50% chromium, 0.84).9% molybdenum, 0.24).3% vanadium, m a x i m u m of 0.2% silicon, 0.015% sulphur and 0.03% phosphorus. Gas content in ppm is: oxygen--50, nitrogen--125 and hydrogen--2. The heat treatment cycle consists of the following: hardening at 920C for 4 m i n / m m thickness by oil quenching; tempering at 20OC for 8 m i n / m m thickness by oil quenching. The m i n i m u m guaranteed mechanical properties are: ultimate tensile strength, a,~ = 150 kg/mm-'; 0.2% proof stress or yield strength, trys = 130 kg/mm2; % elongation = 8. To demonstrate the potentiality of this steel as a promising material for fabrication of rocket motor cases, the fracture behaviour of this material is examined here. The experimental data generated on Compact Tension (CT) specimens made of this low alloy steel are considered for generating the crack growth resistance curve (R-curve). The dimensions of the CT specimens are: width, W = 25.05 mm; thickness, B = 12.56 mm; the initial crack length to width ratio, ao/W = 0.4983. The achieved tensile properties of the material are: Young's modulus, E = 20 600 kg/mm2; 0.2% proof stress or yield strength, try~= 135.6 kg/mm-~; ultimate tensile strength, a,~ = 173.7 kg/mm-'. The three points A(E~, P0), B(V, PO and C(V~ ..... Pmax) on the load-displacement curve of the CT specimen as defined in Fig. 1 are A(0.3, 1423), B(0.4, 1785) and C(0.6, 1938). The measured front-face displacements V0, Vt and Vm~ are in m m and the loads P0, P~ and P,~, are in kg. The material constants M, k and n in eq. (1) are M = 4760, k = 956 587 064 and n = 24.8441. The load Po at a 5% secant offset is 1767.4kg. The value of Ko is 279.92kg/mm 3~2. The ratio Pm,~/Po=I.095<l.I and the value of 2.5(Ko/ay,)2= 10.653 m m , which is less than the specimen thickness (B)_and crack length (a0). Hence, the plane strain fracture toughness of this material, K~c = 279.92 kg/mm 32 (86.80 M P a x / m ). The material constants CR and nR in eq. (5) which represent the R-curve are: CR = 1.1093075 x 10 -j5 and nR = 5.93355. The units of KR in eq. (5) are kg/mm 32 and of Aa are mm. The m a x i m u m load, P .... at the initiation of instability for different values of crack length to width ratio, a/W, from 0.45 to 0.55 is obtained from eqs (5)-(8). Following the procedure explained in the preceding section, the fracture toughness parameters for the failure assessment diagram represented by eq. (15) through the R-curve determined for this material are: KF = 473.44 kg/mm 3;-~, m = 0.50777 and p = 32.406. Using these three fracture toughness parameters, the fracture strengths of centre-surface cracked tension (SCT) specimens are evaluated and compared with the test results. The results presented in Tables 1 and 2 are found to be in good agreement with the test results. A failure assessment diagram (FAD) generated using the fracture toughness parameters in eq. (15) is shown in Fig. 2. The experimental failure stress (at) and elastic stress intensity factor at failure (Km~) for different crack sizes of SCT specimens given in Table 1 are also shown in Fig. 2. All these points fall on or outside the envelope of the curve. If any point falls inside the envelope of the curve, the theoretical fracture strength (af) predictions are unconservative. The empirical relationship between the elastic stress intensity factor at failure (Km,x) and the nominal failure stress (~rr) through the fracture toughness parameters Kr,

Table 2. Fracture analysis of centre surface cracked specimens under tension Dimensions (mm) Thickness B Width W 7.42 7.37 7.18 7.17 7.17 7.60 7.60 7.60 7.60 7.66 7.67 7.04 7.02 7.02 7.08 7.21 7.22 7.13 7.23 34.72 34.7 35.2 34.62 34.6 34.7 34.72 34.72 34.7 35 35 35.08 35.15 35.14 35.06 34.99 35.02 35.01 35.05 Crack size (mm) Depth a Length 2c 1.44 1.47 1.99 1.89 2.16 2.18 2.1 2.62 2.61 3.35 1.19 1.23 1.63 1.84 1.06 1.73 1.66 1.93 2.12 3.73 3.51 5.09 4.75 5.32 6.05 6.14 7.84 7.96 11.54 3.13 3.24 4.02 4.9 2.44 4.71 4.28 5.1 5.62 Fracture strength ar (kg/mm 2) Test Analysis 165.68 166.2 144.39 153.75 144.5 139.5 135.46 126.17 126.73 113.6 168.5 168.06 156.63 152.12 178.55 154.4 157.27 153.51 145.88 155.84 156.44 144.9 147.39 141.64 138.21 137.8 128.14 127.62 113.96 159.97 159.25 153.03 146.39 162.85 148.01 151.44 144.84 140.99 Relative error (%) 5.94 5.87 -0.35 4.14 1.98 0.92 - 1.73 - 1.56 - 0.70 -0.32 5.06 5.24 2.3 3.77 8.79 4.14 3.7 5.65 3.35


Technical Note

0.9 -





0.5 0

I 50

I 100

I 150

I 200

I 250

I 300

]l 350

Kmax (Kg/mm 3/2) Fig. 2. Failure assessment diagram (K~ =473.44 kg/mm ~-~; m =0.50777; p = 32.405). m and p in eq. (15) will be useful for determination of the fracture strength of all structural components containing through or part-through cracks.
Acknowledgements--The authors wish to acknowledge their colleagues in the Materials and Metallurgy Group for their help in providing the necessary experimental data.

[1] B. Nageswara Rao and A. R. Acharya, Fracture analysis of a surface cracked plate under tension. Engng Fracture Mech. 32, 551-559 (1989). [2] B. Nageswara Rao and A. R. Acharya, Fracture strength for thin structural components containing surface cracks. Metallkunde 80, 596-600 (1989). [3] B. Nageswara Rao, A. R. Acharya, J. D. A. Subramanyam and N. R. U. K. Kartha, Burst pressure prediction of a maraging steel chamber with surface cracks, in Advances in Fracture Research (Edited by K. Salama, K. Ravichandar, D. M. R. Taplin and P. Rama Rao), VoL 4, pp. 2573-2581. Pergamon Press, New York (1989). [4] B. Nageswara Rao and A. R. Acharya, Fracture studies on M250 grade maraging steel material. VSSC-SEG-TM-26-89, Structural Engineering Group, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum, India (1989). [5] B. Nageswara Rao, Instability load for cracked configurations in plate materials. Engng Fracture Mech. 43, 887-893 (1992). [6] B. Nageswara Rao and A. R. Acharya, Structural integrity assessment on M250 grade maraging steel pressure vessels via the fracture mechanics approach. J. Aeronautical Sot'. India 45, 308-322 (1993). [7] J. C. Newman, Jr, Fracture analysis of various cracked configurations in sheet and plate materials. A S T M STP 605, 104-123 (1976). [8] ASTM E561-86. Standard practice for R-curve determination. Annual Book o]" ASTM Standards, Vol. 03.01, pp. 570-581 (1989). [9] R.A. Saxena and S. J. Hundak, Review and extension of compliance information for common crack growth specimens. Int. J. Fracture 14, 453-486 (1978). [10] J. E. Srawley, Wide range stress intensity factor expressions for ASTM E399 standard fracture toughness specimens. Int. J. Fracture 12~ 475-476 (1976). [11] J. C. Newman, Jr, An evaluation of fracture analysis methods, in Elastic-Plastic Fracture Mechanics Technology, A S T M STP 896, 5-96 (1985). [12] G. G. Chell, Elasto-plastic fracture mechanics, in Development in Fracture Mechanics--l. Applied Science Publishers, London (1979). [13] R. M. Bonesteel, Fracture of thin sections containing surface cracks. Engng Fracture Mech. 5, 541-554 (1973). [14] Fracture criteria in the design of pressure vessels/rocket motor casings. VSSC-TR-15-224-81, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum, India (1981). [15] J. C. Newman, Jr and I. S. Raju, Analysis of surface cracks in finite plates under tension or bending loads. NASA-TP-1578 (1979).
(Received 30 November 1994)