The integrity of mechanical components, particularly when they experience considerable fatigue damage during its operating life, can be strongly influenced by the presence of residual stress fields and mechanical heterogeneity. Premature closure of crack flanks greatly influences fatigue crack growth rate. Extensive elastic-plastic finite element analyses have been carried out to investigate detailed crack closure behavior in center cracked welded compact tension (CT) specimens with one level of weld strength mismatch. The finite element results show that homogeneous, soft material has higher crack opening loads than heterogeneous material with 50% overmatch conditions. Fracture testing conducted on C(T) specimens to measure fatigue crack growth rates for an ASTM A516 Gr. 70 steel weldment provide the experimental data to support such behavior. The fatigue life can be reduced by more than 100% for a condition of 50% overmatch when compared with the evenmatch condition. It was verified that most of time spent in fatigue propagation life is consumed at the beginning of the propagation life.

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