We investigated the evolution of the strain fields around a fatigued crack tip between the steady- and overloaded-fatigue conditions using a nondestructive neutron diffraction technique. The two fatigued compact-tension specimens, with a different fatigue history but an identical applied stress intensity factor range, were used for the direct comparison of the crack tip stress/strain distributions during in situ loading. While strains behind the crack tip in the steady-fatigued specimen are irrelevant to increasing applied load, the strains behind the crack tip in the overloaded-fatigued specimen evolve significantly under loading, leading to a lower driving force of fatigue crack growth. The results reveal the overload retardation mechanism and the correlation between crack tip stress distribution and fatigue crack growth rate.
- Crack growth
- Neutron diffraction