Finite element modelling of crack propagation in elastic-plastic media
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Materials which are cyclically stressed by sliding indenters often undergo fatigue wear, as surface breaking vertical cracks and subsurface horizontal cracks propagate causing eventual loss of material. In this study, the authors model crack propagation in an elastic-plastic material using finite element techniques, and consider the influence of friction, elasticity, plasticity and degree of penetration on the J-integral at the tip of a vertical crack. Crack propagation directions are estimated using J-integral maxima as the determining variable. It is found that the J-integral values, as a measure of strain energy release rate, can be used to estimate the crack propagation angle. Its main advantage lies in the fact that it considers both modes (I, II) of crack propagation. Using the J-integral values, one finds that, in the absence of friction between the indenter and the material, the vertical crack is equally prone to propagation at both 45 and 135° angles. However, one notices that the vertical crack favours the direction opposite to the direction of rolling for non-zero values of friction, i.e. 135°. The effects of both the crack depth and the crack tip plasticity are also investigated. It is found that any experimental findings suggestive of crack orientations closer to the horizontal in the direction opposite to the sliding direction are probably a result of shallow vertical asperities or higher crack tip plasticity.
KeywordsEnergy Release Rate Crack Depth Strain Energy Release Strain Energy Release Rate Vertical Crack
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