# Size Effect and Notch Size Effect in Metal Fatigue

##### Makkonen, Matti (1999-08-27)

**Aineistoon ei liity tiedostoja.**

Väitöskirja

Makkonen, Matti

27.08.1999

Lappeenranta University of Technology

Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis

#### Tiivistelmä

It is a well known phenomenon that the constant amplitude fatigue limit of a large component is lower than the fatigue limit of a small specimen made of the same material. In notched components the opposite occurs: the fatigue limit defined as the maximum stress at the notch is higher than that achieved with smooth specimens. These two effects have been taken into account in most design handbooks with the help of experimental formulas or design curves. The basic idea of this study is that the size effect can mainly be explained by the statistical size effect. A component subjected to an alternating load can be assumed to form a sample of initiated cracks at the end of the crack initiation phase. The size of the sample depends on the size of the specimen in question. The main objective of this study is to develop a statistical model for the estimation of this kind of size effect.

It was shown that the size of a sample of initiated cracks shall be based on the stressed surface area of the specimen. In case of varying stress distribution, an effective stress area must be calculated. It is based on the decreasing probability of equally sized initiated cracks at lower stress level. If the distribution function of the parent population of cracks is known, the distribution of the maximum crack size in a sample can be defined. This makes it possible to calculate an estimate of the largest expected crack in any sample size. The estimate of the fatigue limit can now be calculated with the help of the linear elastic fracture mechanics.

In notched components another source of size effect has to be taken into account. If we think about two specimens which have similar shape, but the size is different, it can be seen that the stress gradient in the smaller specimen is steeper. If there is an initiated crack in both of them, the stress intensity factor at the crack in the larger specimen is higher. The second goal of this thesis is to create a calculation method for this factor which is called the geometric size effect.

The proposed method for the calculation of the geometric size effect is also based on the use of the linear elastic fracture mechanics. It is possible to calculate an accurate value of the stress intensity factor in a non linear stress field using weight functions. The calculated stress intensity factor values at the initiated crack can be compared to the corresponding stress intensity factor due to constant stress. The notch size effect is calculated as the ratio of these stress intensity factors.

The presented methods were tested against experimental results taken from three German doctoral works. Two candidates for the parent population of initiated cracks were found: the Weibull distribution and the log normal distribution. Both of them can be used successfully for the prediction of the statistical size effect for smooth specimens. In case of notched components the geometric size effect due to the stress gradient shall be combined with the statistical size effect. The proposed method gives good results as long as the notch in question is blunt enough. For very sharp notches, stress concentration factor about 5 or higher, the method does not give sufficient results. It was shown that the plastic portion of the strain becomes quite high at the root of this kind of notches. The use of the linear elastic fracture mechanics becomes therefore questionable.

It was shown that the size of a sample of initiated cracks shall be based on the stressed surface area of the specimen. In case of varying stress distribution, an effective stress area must be calculated. It is based on the decreasing probability of equally sized initiated cracks at lower stress level. If the distribution function of the parent population of cracks is known, the distribution of the maximum crack size in a sample can be defined. This makes it possible to calculate an estimate of the largest expected crack in any sample size. The estimate of the fatigue limit can now be calculated with the help of the linear elastic fracture mechanics.

In notched components another source of size effect has to be taken into account. If we think about two specimens which have similar shape, but the size is different, it can be seen that the stress gradient in the smaller specimen is steeper. If there is an initiated crack in both of them, the stress intensity factor at the crack in the larger specimen is higher. The second goal of this thesis is to create a calculation method for this factor which is called the geometric size effect.

The proposed method for the calculation of the geometric size effect is also based on the use of the linear elastic fracture mechanics. It is possible to calculate an accurate value of the stress intensity factor in a non linear stress field using weight functions. The calculated stress intensity factor values at the initiated crack can be compared to the corresponding stress intensity factor due to constant stress. The notch size effect is calculated as the ratio of these stress intensity factors.

The presented methods were tested against experimental results taken from three German doctoral works. Two candidates for the parent population of initiated cracks were found: the Weibull distribution and the log normal distribution. Both of them can be used successfully for the prediction of the statistical size effect for smooth specimens. In case of notched components the geometric size effect due to the stress gradient shall be combined with the statistical size effect. The proposed method gives good results as long as the notch in question is blunt enough. For very sharp notches, stress concentration factor about 5 or higher, the method does not give sufficient results. It was shown that the plastic portion of the strain becomes quite high at the root of this kind of notches. The use of the linear elastic fracture mechanics becomes therefore questionable.

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