A dislocation model of plasticity with particular application to fatigue crack closure
The ability to predict fatigue crack growth rates is essential in safety critical systems. The discovery of fatigue crack closure in 1970 caused a flourish of research in attempts to simulate this behaviour, which crucially affects crack growth rates. Historically, crack tip plasticity models have been based on one-dimensional rays of plasticity emanating from the crack tip, either co-linear with the crack (for the case of plane stress), or at a chosen angle in the plane of analysis (for plane strain). In this thesis, one such model for plane stress, developed to predict fatigue crack closure, has been refined. It is applied to a study of the relationship between the apparent stress intensity range (easily calculated using linear elastic fracture mechanics), and the true stress intensity range, which includes the effects of plasticity induced fatigue crack closure. Results are presented for all load cases for a finite crack in an infinite plane, and a method is demonstrated which allows the calculation of the true stress intensity range for a growing crack, based only on the apparent stress intensity range for a static crack. Although the yield criterion is satisfied along the plastic ray, these one-dimensional plasticity models violate the yield criterion in the area immediately surrounding the plasticity ray. An area plasticity model is therefore required in order to model the plasticity more accurately. This thesis develops such a model by distributing dislocations over an area. Use of the model reveals that current methods for incremental plasticity algorithms using distributed dislocations produce an over-constrained system, due to misleading assumptions concerning the normality condition. A method is presented which allows the system an extra degree of freedom; this requires the introduction of a parameter, derived using the Prandtl-Reuss flow rule, which relates the magnitude of slip on complementary shear planes. The method is applied to two problems, confirming its validity.