Characteristics of three-dimensional stress fields in plates with a through-the-thickness crack

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Three-dimensional finite element analyses were performed on plates with a through-the-thickness crack. Global-local finite element technique with sub-modeling was used to achieve the refinement required to obtain an accurate stress field. The existence of a weaker singularity was verified, and a model was proposed to explain the behavior of stresses in the boundary layer. This model is able to account for the competing interaction between the inverse square root singular term and the vertex singular term. The energy release rate was calculated using the modified crack closure method and energy balance. A simple technique without 3-D calculation was suggested for evaluating an approximate 3-D stress intensity factor at the mid-plane. The effect of plate thickness on the size of the three-dimensional region was studied, and the validity of two-dimensional linear elastic fracture mechanics was discussed.

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