Parameters previously proposed for the correlation of elastic-plastic fatigue crack growth data are critically reviewed and compared from a pragmatic engineering standpoint. Commonly employed estimates for the four most common parameters are shown to have essentially the same structure and to be numerically similar, despite their widely differing theoretical backgrounds. The significance of fatigue crack closure for crack growth under these conditions is considered. Elastic-plastic finite element analyses of crack closure are presented and compared with experimental data and simple analytical models. Normalized crack opening stresses are shown to change significantly between small scale and large scale yielding conditions, especially for R= − 1 loading. Different schemes for incorporating closure information into the crack growth parameters are examined, and the consequences of closure for the numerical structure of the parameter estimates are demonstrated. Experimental crack growth data from 1026 and 1070 steels are correlated with estimates of ΔK and ΔJ, both considering and neglecting the effects of crack closure. The data comprise wide ranges of maximum stress, plastic strain amplitude, and crack length, including conditions of small, intermediate, and large scale yielding. Correlations which include an explicit correction for crack closure are shown to be superior.

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