The sensitivity of crack growth resistance to the choice of isotropic or kinematic hardening is investigated. Monotonic mode I crack advance under small scale yielding conditions is modeled via a cohesive zone formulation endowed with a traction–separation law. R-curves are computed for materials that exhibit linear or power law hardening. Kinematic hardening leads to an enhanced crack growth resistance relative to isotropic hardening. Moreover, kinematic hardening requires greater crack extension to achieve the steady-state. These differences are traced to the nonproportional loading of material elements near the crack tip as the crack advances. The sensitivity of the R-curve to the cohesive zone properties and to the level of material strain hardening is explored for both isotropic and kinematic hardening.

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