Stress intensity values for cracks growing in conventional fatigue specimens are determined, with emphasis on the end constraint conditions associated with S-N fatigue testing. Three-dimensional finite element analysis methods are used to analyze thumbnail-shaped cracks in cylindrical geometries. Crack front straightening due to the increased bending introduced as crack growth progresses is included in the models. Because relatively stiff fatigue test machines prevent rotation at the clamped ends of test specimens, uniform axial displacement boundary conditions are imposed. Results for uniformly applied axial stress end conditions are also obtained for comparison. For crack-depth-to-specimen-diameter ratios over one-third, bending restraint induced in the specimens under applied axial displacement significantly reduces the resulting stress intensity relative to values computed for uniform end tension. The results are useful for evaluating crack growth in fatigue specimens within the limits of linear elastic fracture mechanics.

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