Abstract

The influence of grain size distribution on ductile intergranular crack growth resistance is investigated using full field microstructure-based finite element calculations and a simpler model based on discrete unit events and graph search. The finite element calculations are carried out for a plane strain sheet with planar grains subjected to mode I small scale yielding conditions. The finite element formulation accounts for finite deformations and the constitutive relation models the loss of stress carrying capacity due to progressive void nucleation, growth and coalescence. The discrete unit events are characterized by a set of finite element calculations for crack growth at a single grain boundary junction. A directed graph of the connectivity of grain boundary junctions and the distances between them is used to create a directed graph in J-resistance space. For a specified grain boundary distribution, this enables crack growth resistance curves to be calculated for all possible crack paths. Crack growth resistance curves are calculated based on various path choice criteria and compared with the results of full field finite element calculations of the initial boundary value problem. The effect of unimodal and bimodal grain size distributions on intergranular crack growth are considered. It is found that a significant increase in crack growth resistance is obtained if the difference in grain sizes in the bimodal grain size distribution is sufficiently large.

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