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Embrittlement of an elasto-plastic medium by an inclusion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Luca Cimbaro, Adrian Sutton, Daniel Balint, Anthony Thomas Paxton, Mark Hardy

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-100
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date19 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


King's Authors


A mathematical model for the embrittlement of a long elastic-plastic crack by a relatively small, misfitting inclusion is presented. The model makes direct contact with the Dugdale-Bilby-Cottrell-Swinden model as a limiting case. The particular case of an oxide inclusion with a triangular cross-section at the tip of an intergranular crack in the Ni-based superalloy RR1000 at 650\textdegree C is considered. The positive misfit of the intrusion provides an additional tensile load on the crack tip and on the plastic zone, raising the local stress intensity factor $k_I$ and the crack tip opening displacement $\Delta_u$ above those when the inclusion is replaced by a dislocation- free zone of the same length. It is shown that for a given misfit strain and inclusion shape, the enhancement of $k_I$ and $\Delta u$ is controlled by a dimensionless parameter $\omega= (\sigma/\sigma_1)\sqrt{c/(2l)}$ where $\sigma$ is the applied stress, $\sigma_1$ is the yield stress, $c$ is the crack length and $l$ is the length of the inclusion. The anti-shielding effect of the intrusion is significant only when $\omega\lesssim 6$. As a result of the anti-shielding effect of the intrusion, the stress singularity at the crack tip always exceeds the compressive normal stress that exists within the thickest part of the intrusion when it is isolated. It is also shown that the gradient of the hydrostatic stress within the intrusion subjected to different applied stresses drives the oxygen diffusion and, hence, assists the oxidation at the grain boundary. The fracture toughness is considerably greater than that of a bulk sample of the oxide particle, which we attribute to the plastic zone.

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