CRACK-GROWTH BY GRAIN-BOUNDARY CAVITATION IN THE TRANSIENT AND EXTENSIVE CREEP REGIMES
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Crack growth due to cavity growth and coalescence along grain boundaries is analyzed under transient and extensive creep conditions in a compact tension specimen. Account is taken of the finite geometry changes accompanying crack tip blunting. The material is characterized as an elastic-power law creeping solid with an additional contribution to the creep rate arising from a given density of cavitating grain boundary facets. All voids are assumed present from the outset and distributed on a given density of cavitating grain boundary facets. The evolution of the stress fields with crack growth under three load histories is described in some detail for a relatively ductile material. The full-field plane strain finite element calculations show the competing effects of stress relaxation due to constrained creep, diffusion and crack tip blunting, and of stress increase due to the instantaneous elastic response to crack growth. At very high crack growth rates the Hui-Riedel fields dominate the crack tip region. However, the high growth rates are not sustained for any length of time in the compact tension geometry analyzed. The region of dominance of the Hui-Riedel field shrinks rapidly so that the near-tip fields are controlled by the HRR-type field shortly after the onset of crack growth. Crack growth rates under various conditions of loading and spanning the range of times from small scale creep to extensive creep are obtained. We show that there is a strong similarity between crack growth history and the behaviour of the C(t) and Ctparameters, so that crack growth rates correlate rather well with C(t) and Ct.A relatively brittle material is also considered that has a very different near-tip stress field and crack growth history. 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers.