The problem of slow crack growth under residual stresses and externally applied loads in plates is considered. Even though the technique developed to treat the problem is quite general, in the solution given it is assumed that the plate contains a surface crack and the residual stresses are compressive near and at the surfaces and tensile in the interior. The crack would start growing subcritically when the stress intensity factor exceeds a threshold value. Initially the crack faces near the plate surface would remain closed. A crack-contact problem would, therefore, have to be solved to calculate the stress intensity factor. Depending on the relative magnitudes of the residual and applied stresses and the threshold and critical stress intensity factors, the subcritically growing crack would either be arrested or become unstable. The problem is solved and examples showing the time to crack arrest or failure are discussed.

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