Application of new materials, such as PMN-PT single crystals, requires a good understanding of basic material performance under both electrical and mechanical loading. Over the past 5 years the authors have used both computational and experimental techniques to examine the relationships between poling direction, crystal orientation, and electric field actuation. Experiments show mixed results indicating that the relationship between material orientation and loading is more complex than originally imagined. In some cases crack initiation and propagation perpendicular to the applied field was observed within a few thousand cycles but in other cases no failure was observed even after a few hundred thousand cycles despite crack growth in the presence of introduced defects. Computational effort quickly identified a gap between development of theoretical constitutive models that addressed domain switching based nonlinear behavior and what was available in workable form as part of commercial finite element codes. This led to the implementation of a macro-mechanical constitutive model which addresses domain switching, into a commercially available finite element code. The rate independent version has been used to investigate issues of electric field actuation and poling direction. Presented here are insights into the fracture and fatigue behavior of piezoelectric single crystals from both experimental and computational studies.

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