Abstract

A single specimen technique to estimate crack length, standardized in ASTM E1820, is the so called load-normalization technique, also known as the Key-curve technique. The method is based on the separability between deformation and crack length. This means that if the load is normalized by a suitable function of crack length, the result will be a single crack length independent load-displacement curve. If this “Key”-curve is known, then based only on load and displacement information it is possible to estimate the corresponding crack length.

The load normalizing method assumes a plastic response of the specimen during crack growth. If there is crack growth already in the elastic regime, non-linearity in the load-displacement record is not due to plasticity, but due to the crack growth. In this case the standard load-normalization method does not work since it assumes that the non-linearity is due to plasticity or crack tip blunting. Such materials require a modified approach.

Here, a modified load normalization method accounting for possible elastic crack growth is presented. The method is shown to produce realistic crack growth estimates regardless of plasticity level of the specimen. The method applies an improved load normalization equation compared to the one presently used in ASTM E1820.

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