Steady-state crack growth in single crystals under Mode I loading

Kristian Jørgensen Juul*, Kim Lau Nielsen, Christian Frithiof Niordson

*Corresponding author for this work

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The active plastic zone that surrounds the tip of a sharp crack growing under plane strain Mode I loading conditions at a constant velocity in a single crystal is studied. Both the characteristics of the plastic zone and its effect on the macroscopic toughness is investigated in terms of crack tip shielding due to plasticity (quantified by employing the Suo, Shih, and Varias set-up). Three single crystals (FCC, BCC, HCP) are modelled in a steady-state elastic visco-plastic framework, with emphasis on the influence of rate-sensitivity and crystal structures. Distinct velocity discontinuities at the crack tip predicted by Rice [Rice J.R., 1987. Tensile crack tip fields in elastic-ideally plastic crystals. Mech. Mater. 6, pp. 317–335] for quasi-static crack growth are confirmed through the numerical simulations and highly refined details are revealed. Through a detailed study, it is demonstrated that the largest shielding effect develops in HCP crystals, while the lowest shielding exists for FCC crystals. Rate-sensitivity is found to affect the plastic zone size, but the characteristics overall remain similar for each individual crystal structure. An increasing rate-sensitivity at low crack velocities monotonically increases the crack tip shielding, whereas the opposite behaviour is observed at high velocities. This observation leads to the existence of a characteristic velocity at which the crack tip shielding becomes independent of the rate-sensitivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Pages (from-to)209-222
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Crystal plasticity
  • Plastic zones
  • Quasi-static crack growth
  • Rate-sensitivity
  • Shielding effect


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