Using the Hertzian fracture system to measure crack growth data: A review

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In order to describe better the probability of failure of structures, crack growth data of the underlying material is required. In particular, it is well known that to calculate accurately the probability of failure of a structure that has sustained low loads for long periods, crack growth data of very low rates of growth are necessary. There exists a multitude of experimental techniques, incorporating various fracture systems, which have been utilized in the past to measure crack growth data. One such unique system is the Hertzian fracture system. However, in the past this system could not be successfully employed to measure accurately crack growth rates, over a broad range. Recently, it has been shown that limitations associated with the Hertzian fracture system can be overcome, and thus, demonstrate that this system is well suited for measuring very low rates of crack growth: as low as 10−15 m s−1. It is the purpose of this publication to review the past work associated with the application of the Hertzian fracture system for measuring crack growth data. In particular, the relevant issues associated with crack growth measurement using this system are highlighted and previously unpublished scanning electron micrographs of Hertzian cone crack fracture surfaces are presented.

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