The KIII-stress intensity factor in an edge-cracked plate submitted to antiplane shear may be evaluated by the reflected caustic created around the crack tip, provided that a purely elastic behavior exists at the crack tip [1]. For a work-hardening, elastic-plastic material, when stresses at the vicinity of the crack tip exceed the yield limit of the material, the new shape of caustic differs substantially from the corresponding shape of the elastic solution. In this paper the shape and size of the caustics created at the tip of the crack, when small-scale yielding is established in the vicinity of the crack tip, were studied, based on a closed-form solution introduced by Rice [2]. The plastic stress intensity factor may be evaluated from the dimensions of the plastic caustic. Experimental evidence with cracked plates made of opaque materials, like steel, corroborated the results of the theory.

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