The phenomenon considered is fracture initiation and crack growth in a plate due to dynamic pressure loading on the faces of a pre-existing crack. The problem is formulated within the framework of two-dimensional elastodynamics, and the system is viewed as a semi-infinite crack in an otherwise unbounded body. At a certain instant of time, a spatially uniform pressure begins to act on the crack faces. The pressure magnitude increases linearly in time for a certain period (the rise time T), and it is constant thereafter. The crack begins to extend at constant speed at some time after the pressure begins to act (the delay time τ). The pressure acts only over the original crack faces, and both τ > T and τ < T are considered. The ratio of the normal stress on the fracture plane to the value due to the singular term in the stress field alone is computed for some point at a small fixed distance ahead of the crack tip, with a view toward establishing the conditions under which the stress intensity factor controlled singular term accurately describes the near tip stress distribution in this highly transient process. Measured and calculated histories compare very well for relatively low crack face pressures, but there is significant disagreement beyond crack growth initiation for higher pressures. Possible reasons for the discrepancies are discussed.

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