Risk Analysis

Unified Risk Analysis of Fatigue Failure in Ductile Alloy Components During All Three Stages of Fatigue Crack Evolution Process

Journal Article

Statistical fatigue life of a ductile alloy specimen is traditionally divided into three stages, namely, crack nucleation, small crack growth, and large crack growth. Crack nucleation and small crack growth show a wide variation and hence a big spread on cycles versus crack length graph. Relatively, large crack growth shows a lesser variation. Therefore, different models are fitted to the different stages of the fatigue evolution process, thus treating different stages as different phenomena. With these independent models, it is impossible to predict one phenomenon based on the information available about the other phenomenon. Experimentally, it is easier to carry out crack length measurements of large cracks compared to nucleating cracks and small cracks. Thus, it is easier to collect statistical data for large crack growth compared to the painstaking effort it would take to collect statistical data for crack nucleation and small crack growth. This article presents a fracture mechanics‐based stochastic model of fatigue crack growth in ductile alloys that are commonly encountered in mechanical structures and machine components. The model has been validated by Ray (1998) for crack propagation by various statistical fatigue data. Based on the model, this article proposes a technique to predict statistical information of fatigue crack nucleation and small crack growth properties that uses the statistical properties of large crack growth under constant amplitude stress excitation. The statistical properties of large crack growth under constant amplitude stress excitation can be obtained via experiments.

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