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ASM Handbook

Fatigue and Fracture

ASM International
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Fracture Mechanics, Damage Tolerance, and Life Assessment



The concepts of fracture mechanics are basic ideas for developing the methods of predicting the load-carrying capabilities of structures and components containing cracks. This article provides an introduction to the methodology for computing the onset of fracture and describes plane strain fracture toughness, denoted as KIC. It presents formulas for the stress-intensity parameter as a function of crack size, crack shape, applied stress (or load), and geometry of load application.


Fracture mechanics is a multidisciplinary engineering topic that has foundations in both mechanics and materials science. This article summarizes the microstructural aspect of fracture resistance in structural materials. It provides a discussion on basic fracture principles and schematically illustrates the mechanism of crack propagation. The article describes the fracture resistance of high-strength steels, aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, and composites such as brittle matrix-ductile phase composites and metal-matrix composites. It also lists the effects of microstructural variables on fracture toughness of steels, aluminum alloys, and titanium alloys.

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1996. "Fracture Mechanics, Damage Tolerance, and Life Assessment", Fatigue and Fracture

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