Fatigue crack growth thresholds ΔKth are provided by several fitness-for-service (FFS) codes. When evaluating cracked components subjected to cyclic loading, maximum stress intensity factor Kmax and/or minimum stress intensity factor Kmin are required. However, the definitions of the thresholds ΔKth under negative stress ratio R are not clearly written, except for BS (British Standards) 7910. In addition, the ΔKth are given by constant values under negative R. Fatigue crack growth rates under negative stress ratio is recommended to use maximum stress intensity factor Kmax by ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) E 647, because of the Kmax being close to crack driving force. Therefore, it deems that the ΔKth under negative R seems to be Kmax.
This paper shows that the Kmax converted by the ΔKth are not constant values under negative R based on the survey of experimental data. The Kmax decreases with decreasing the stress ratio R. Therefore, the ΔKth for the FFS codes are less conservative. As experimental data under negative stress ratio R were taken by Kmax – Kmin, the definition of the threshold ΔKth is benefit to use Kmax – Kmin, instead of Kmax.