Chapter 13: Fracture
Fracture is the separation of a solid body into two or more pieces under the action of stress. Fracture can be classified into two broad categories: ductile fracture and brittle fracture. Beginning with a comparison of these two categories, this chapter discusses the nature and causes of these failure modes. Some body-centered cubic and hexagonal close-packed metals, and steels in particular, exhibit a ductile-to-brittle transition when loaded under impact and the chapter describes the use of notched bar impact testing to determine the temperature at which a normally ductile failure transitions to a brittle failure. The discussion then covers the Griffith theory of brittle fracture and the formulation of fracture mechanics. Procedures for determination of the plane-strain fracture toughness are subsequently covered. Finally, the chapter describes the effects of microstructural variables on fracture toughness of steels, aluminum alloys, and titanium alloys.