Multiple cracks are often observed in engineering structures; and their interaction and coalescence may significantly affect their life. Knowledge of the behavior of interacting cracks is very limited. A major component of any linear fracture mechanics model for fatigue crack growth is the calculation of the crack-tip stress intensity factor, SIF. In this paper, a parametric study is presented for two parallel surface cracks in an infinite plate subjected to remote tension or to pure bending loads. The stress intensity factors for these cracks as a function of the crack-front position, depth, shape, and plate thickness are calculated using three-dimensional (3-D) finite element, (FE) analysis. The ratios of crack depth to plate thickness, a/t, and to crack length, a/c, range from 0.1 to 0.62 and 0.1 to 1.0, respectively. Where possible, a comparison of 3-D with 2-D results is also considered.

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