A new global limit load solution is developed in this paper for a precise semi-elliptical surface crack in a plate under combined tension and bending, based on the net-section collapse principle. The new global limit load solution is compared with finite element (FE) results for the semi-elliptical crack, and with the global limit load solution for the circumscribing rectangular crack. The predictions of the new equation are conservative and close to the elastic-perfectly-plastic FE results for shallow cracks. For narrow plates with deep cracks, however, no FE results for the global limit load are available. The differences between the limit load solutions for a semi-elliptical crack and a rectangular crack are negligible for very wide plates but significant for narrow plates, depending on the normalised crack depth and the ratio between the crack length and width of the plate.

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