A new scheme for elastic-plastic finite element analysis has been proposed for the study of stable crack growth (SCG) from initiation to instability in both mode I and mixed modes (I and II). The scheme is based on node-release technique and helps to determine the variation of fracture load with crack extension without requiring much computer storage and time. The scheme permits predictions of load variation with load line displacement (LLD), maximum fracture load, crack tip current plastic zone and crack edge profile. In the analysis the condition for crack extension at every stage of the SCG is considered to be governed by CTOA/COD reaching a critical value. The scheme of analysis is different from the ones proposed by earlier investigators. The whole SCG is analysed in a few stages using the ANSYS software and a single discretization. Element arrangement in the discretization is decided from the very beginning; it has a capability of accommodating changes in boundary conditions arising out of crack extension in the later stages. Each stage is analysed afresh ignoring state of stress-strain reached at a material point at the end of the previous stage. Case studies on both mode I and mixed mode presented considering AISI 4340 steel, which is widely used in nuclear power industry, indicate that the SCG through it can be characterized in terms of a single COD or CTOA. Predictions for the initiation and maximum fracture loads in both the cases compare very closely with the experimental data reported. The results presented also include the value of critical COD/CTOA (0.035 mm/0.0875 rad) characterizing the SCG through the steel and show that the initiation load is not significantly affected by crack tip radius up to 0.05 mm.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Mechanical Engineering