On the role of compression overloads in influencing crack closure and the threshold condition for fatigue crack growth in 7150 aluminum alloy

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
Journal / PublicationEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


A study has been made of the effect of single compression cycles on near-threshold fatigue crack propagation in an I/M 7150 aluminum alloy. Based on experiments at a load ratio of R= 0.10 on cracks arrested at the fatigue threshold (δkth) in under-, peak and overaged microstructures, large compression overload cycles, of magnitude five times the peak tensile load, were found to cause immediate reinitiation of crack growth, even though the applied stress intensity range did not exceed ΔKth. Following an initial acceleration, subsequent crack advance was observed to take place at progressively decreasing growth rates until rearrest occurred. Such behavior is attributed to measured changes in crack closure which vary the effective near-tip driving force for crack extension (ΔKeff). Specifically, roughness-induced closure primarily is reduced by the application of compressive cycles via a mechanism involving crack surface abrasion which causes flattening and cracking of fracture surface asperities. Closure, however, is regenerated on subsequent propagation resulting in the rearrest. Such observations provide further confirmation that the existence of a fatigue threshold is controlled principally by the development of crack closure and are discussed in terms of the mechanisms of closure in precipitation hardened alloys.