The most common method used to determine the crack initiation life of a component containing a stress raiser in the low cycle fatigue regime is to calculate the maximum strain and then to use a strain-life curve. General practice is to base fatigue life estimates on the stabilized strain amplitude and to neglect the effects of transient behavior due to cyclic hardening or softening and ratcheting. For certain structures in which the accumulation of plastic strains may be significant, a separate check may be performed to ensure that these strains remain below a specified level. An objective of this research is to understand the notch tip local strain ratcheting and shakedown through finite element analyses and physical experiments. Towards planning a set of notched flat coupon experiments, this study performed analyses of various notched coupons under force-controlled cyclic loading. A question that will be addressed, what is the notch tip failure mechanism under a force-controlled load cycle with a non-zero mean force? Smooth specimens under such a force-controlled load cycle normally results in strain ratcheting. It is investigated whether notch tip strain responds in a similar manner under a force controlled loading cycle. The analysis results show that the strain ratcheting rate at the notch tip depends on the sharpness of the notch. In case of semi-circular and blunt elliptical notches shakedown of strain ratcheting within 25 cycles is observed, whereas for the sharp elliptical notch strain ratcheting doesn’t shakedown after 300 cycles. A novel observation made from the analysis results is that the mean stress at the notch tip gradually decreases with inelastic cycle while the stress amplitude remains unchanged. These result and future experimental plan on notch specimens are presented in this article.

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