Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Daniewicz, Steven R.

Committee Member

Jones, E. William.

Committee Member

Newman, James C. III

Committee Member

Luck, Rogelio.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Engineering


Department of Mechanical Engineering


Elastic-plastic finite element analyses were performed to predict the crack opening level profiles in semi-elliptical surface cracks. A script was written to use the commercial finite element code ANSYS to predict opening levels in cracked geometries. The functionality of the scripts was verified by comparing predicted opening levels in two and three-dimensional center-cracked geometries to experimental results. In addition, a parameter study was performed in which various aspects of the modeling routine were modified. This included a mesh refinement study as well as a study into the effect of a strain hardening material. The main focus of the current research, however, is to compare finite element predicted opening levels with published opening levels determined experimentally. Due to the complexities and long run-times involved with these models, no attempt was made at growing the cracks from initial length to final length. Instead, discrete crack lengths at which experimental opening levels were published were instead used. Also, no attempt was made to predict the crack aspect ratio evolution. The finite element predicted opening levels were in all cases significantly lower than those reported experimentally, however, similar trends in both crack opening level profile along the crack front, and opening level variations with crack growth were shown.