Crack growth: Does microstructure play a role?

R. Jones, R. K. Singh Raman, A. J. McMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The experimental data presented in this paper reveals that even if the growth of long cracks in two materials, with different microstructures, have different da/dN versus ΔK curves the corresponding small crack curves can be similar. We also see that long cracks in a large range of steels with different microstructures, chemical compositions, and yield stresses can have similar crack growth rates. The materials science community is challenged to explain these observations. The experimental data also suggests that the threshold term ΔKthr in the Hartman-Schijve variant of the NASGRO crack growth equation appears to have the potential to quantify the way in which small cracks interact with the local microstructure. In this context it is also noted that the variability in the life of operational aircraft is controlled by the probability distribution associated with the size and nature of the material discontinuities in the airframe rather than the probability distribution associated with the scatter in the growth of small cracks with a fixed initial size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-210
Number of pages21
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Aircraft sustainment
  • Chemical composition
  • Lead cracks
  • Micro-structure
  • Small cracks

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