Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Daniewicz, Steven R.

Committee Member

Newman, James C., Jr.

Committee Member

Jones, E. William

Committee Member

Newman, James C., III

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Engineering


Department of Mechanical Engineering


Finite element analyses are frequently used to model growing fatigue cracks and the associated plasticity-induced crack closure. Two-dimensional, elastic-perfectly plastic finite element analyses of middle-crack tension (M(T)), bend (SEB), and compact tension (C(T)) geometries were conducted to study fatigue crack closure and to calculate the crack opening values under plane-strain and plane-stress conditions. The loading was selected to give the same maximum stress intensity factor in both geometries, and thus similar initial forward plastic zone sizes. Mesh refinement studies were performed on all geometries with various element types. For the C(T) geometry, negligible crack opening loads under plane-strain conditions were observed. In contrast, for the M(T) specimen, the plane-strain crack opening stresses were found to be significantly larger. This difference was shown to be a consequence of in-plane constraint. Under plane-stress conditions, it was found that the in-plane constraint has negligible effect, such that the opening values are approximately the same for the C(T), SEB, and M(T) specimens. Next, the crack opening values of the C(T), SEB and M(T) specimens were compared under various stress levels and load ratios. The effect of a highly refined mesh on crack opening values was noted and significantly lower crack opening values than those reported in literature were found. A new methodology is presented to calculate crack opening values in planar geometries using the crack surface nodal force distribution under minimum loading as determined from finite element analyses. The calculated crack opening values are compared with values obtained using finite element analysis and more conventional crack opening assessment methodologies. It is shown that the new method is independent of loading increment, integration method (normal and reduced integration), and crack opening assessment location. The compared opening values were in good agreement with strip-yield models.