eFunda: Stress Intensity Factor, K Stress Intensity Factor, K Formula Home Fracture Mechanics Introduction Ranges of Applicability Linear Elastic FM. Fracture Modes Stress Intensity Fac. Introduction to K Crack Tip Stresses K: Classic Cases K: Specimens K: Structures Kc of Materials Elastic Plastic FM. The J Integral CTOD Resources Bibliography  Login   Home Membership Magazines Forum Search Member Calculators  Materials  Design  Processes  Units  Formulas  Math Stress Intensity Factor and Crack Tip Stresses Crack tips produce a singularity. The stress fields near a crack tip of an isotropic linear elastic material can be expressed as a product of and a function of with a scaling factor K:    where the superscripts and subscripts I, II, and III denote the three different modes that different loadings may be applied to a crack. The detailed breakdown of stresses and displacements for each mode are summarized in this page. The factor K is called the Stress Intensity Factor.
Stress Intensity Factor in Practice Engineers are interested in the maximum stress near the crack tip and whether it exceeds the fracture toughness. Thus, the stress intensity factor K is commonly expressed in terms of the applied stresses at and .

For example, for a through crack in an infinite plate under uniform tension , the stress intensity factor is   where a is one half of the width of the through crack. The dimension of K is In the last few decades, many closed-form solutions of the stress intensity factor K for simple configurations were derived. Some of the common ones are listed in the following three categories: classic, specimen, and structure.

 Stress Intensity Factor and Fracture Toughness Based on the linear theory the stresses at the crack tip are infinity but in reality there is always a plastic zone at the crack tip that limits the stresses to finite values. It is very difficult to model and calculate the actual stresses in the plastic zone and compare them to the maximum allowable stresses of the material to determine whether a crak is going to grow or not. An engineering approach is to perform a series of experiments and reach at a critical stress intensity factor Kc for each material, called the fracture toughness of the material. One can then determine the crack stability by comparing K and Kc directly. Kc's for a number of common engineering materials are listed in this page.
 Relationship between and K Some literature may prefer using strain energy release rate over stress intensity factor K. These two factors are however directly related by the following formulas: The dimension of is Glossary
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