The energy release rate associated with the Mode I and Mode III crack problems for an infinite, nonlinearly elastic, incompressible body are estimated. The calculation adopts an approximation that is a natural extension of the small-scale yielding concept to problems involving moderate levels of loading. The results are compared with available exact and numerical solutions and the agreement is found to be remarkably good. The scheme used here, based on the theory of small deformations superposed on a finite deformation, can be utilized to estimate the energy release rate in many other crack problems.

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