Mode I fracture of sheet metal
Pardoen, T., Hachez, F., Marchioni, B., Blyth, P.H. and Atkins, A.G. (2004) Mode I fracture of sheet metal. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 52. pp. 423-452. ISSN 0022-5096
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5096(03)00087-5
The perceived wisdom about thin sheet fracture is that (i) the crack propagates under mixed mode I & III giving rise to a slant through-thickness fracture profile and (ii) the fracture toughness remains constant at low thickness and eventually decreases with increasing thickness. In the present study, fracture tests performed on thin DENT plates of various thicknesses made of stainless steel, mild steel, 6082-O and NS4 aluminium alloys, brass, bronze, lead, and zinc systematically exhibit (i) mode I “bath-tub”, i.e. “cup & cup”, fracture profiles with limited shear lips and significant localized necking (more than 50% thickness reduction), (ii) a fracture toughness that linearly increases with increasing thickness (in the range of 0.5–5 mm). The different contributions to the work expended during fracture of these materials are separated based on dimensional considerations. The paper emphasises the two parts of the work spent in the fracture process zone: the necking work and the “fracture” work. Experiments show that, as expected, the work of necking per unit area linearly increases with thickness. For a typical thickness of 1 mm, both fracture and necking contributions have the same order of magnitude in most of the metals investigated. A model is developed in order to independently evaluate the work of necking, which successfully predicts the experimental values. Furthermore, it enables the fracture energy to be derived from tests performed with only one specimen thickness. In a second modelling step, the work of fracture is computed using an enhanced void growth model valid in the quasi plane stress regime. The fracture energy varies linearly with the yield stress and void spacing and is a strong function of the hardening exponent and initial void volume fraction. The coupling of the two models allows the relative contributions of necking versus fracture to be quantified with respect to (i) the two length scales involved in this problem, i.e. the void spacing and the plate thickness, and (ii) the flow properties of the material. Each term can dominate depending on the properties of the material which explains the different behaviours reported in the literature about thin plate fracture toughness and its dependence with thickness.
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