Branching of growing corrosion fatigue cracks

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Branching of growing corrosion fatigue cracks

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Title Branching of growing corrosion fatigue cracks
Author(s) Bjerkén, Christina ; Ståhle, Per
Date 2005
English abstract
Strain-driven corrosion of branching cracks, initiated from a virtually plane surface, has been studied using a moving boundary technique. The material is assumed linear elastic and is subjected to fatigue loading under plain strain conditions. The surface of the material is covered by a protective film. During loading this film can be damaged if it is strained above a threshold value, thus revealing an unprotected surface. Corrosion advances by material dissolution, eventually evolving into cracks. The rate of surface evolution is a function of the degree of protective film damage. During unloading the protective film is assumed to develop and heal the surface. A low frequency cyclic loading is applied to ensure that total healing is assumed. The moving boundary technique, simulating corrosion, results in arc-shaped crack tips, rather than singular crack tip points, thus no crack growth criterion is needed in the analysis. For each load step, the strain distribution is found using the finite element method, followed by required the movement the boundary and then remeshing. The crack growth has been investigated for at least 2000 cycles. A more or less pronounced branching of the cracks is found to develop. The crack branches can be classified in three groups; main cracks that grows with maximum rate and branches further, branch cracks that initially retards and then find a steady state growth rate that is a fraction of maximum speed, and finally, arresting cracks that after a period of retardation stop growing. The crack patterns are realistic, showing a sort of self-similarity with tree-like structure, cf. the picture below that shows a typical finite element result. The width of a crack branch together with the shielding from the applied stresses, caused by the other branches and main cracks, seem to govern the evolution of the crack branch. A steady-state growth rate is achieved during parts of the evolution as the crack width and the strain field surrounding the crack tip is in balance, i.e. the crack widens while the crack grows longer. As the bluntness of the tip reaches an upper limit, branching results.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Technology
Research Subject Categories::TECHNOLOGY::Engineering mechanics::Solid mechanics
Research Subject Categories::TECHNOLOGY::Materials science
Note The Irish Mechanics Society, Symposium on Recent Advances in Mechanics and Materials, to honour of Professor K.B. Broberg on the occasion of his 80th birthday, Dublin, Irland, 11 April 2005.
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