Issue 35

G. Meneghetti et alii, Frattura ed Integrità Strutturale, 35 (2016) 172-181; DOI: 10.3221/IGF-ESIS.35.20 172 Focussed on Crack Paths Experimental estimation of the heat energy dissipated in a volume surrounding the tip of a fatigue crack G. Meneghetti ( ) M. Ricotta ( ) University of Padova, Department of Industrial Engineering, Italy , A BSTRACT . Fatigue crack initiation and propagation involve plastic strains that require some work to be done on the material. Most of this irreversible energy is dissipated as heat and consequently the material temperature increases. The heat being an indicator of the intense plastic strains occurring at the tip of a propagating fatigue crack, when combined with the Neuber’s structural volume concept, it might be used as an experimentally measurable parameter to assess the fatigue damage accumulation rate of cracked components. On the basis of a theoretical model published previously, in this work the heat energy dissipated in a volume surrounding the crack tip is estimated experimentally on the basis of the radial temperature profiles measured by means of an infrared camera. The definition of the structural volume in a fatigue sense is beyond the scope of the present paper. The experimental crack propagation tests were carried out on hot-rolled, 6-mm-thick AISI 304L stainless steel specimens subject to completely reversed axial fatigue loading. K EYWORDS . Crack tip; Crack propagation; Heat energy; AISI 304L; Averaging approaches. I NTRODUCTION umerical or experimental evaluation of plastic dissipation at the tip of fatigue cracks have attracted the attention of several researchers, who investigated, just as few examples, crack propagation assessment criteria [1,2], the thermal effects on stress intensity factors [3,4], the plastic zone size and energy dissipation [5-7]. In the field of the experimental approaches, the development of infrared cameras having increased performances (for example in terms of thermal sensitivity, spatial resolution and frame rate) has given impulse to temperature-related fatigue studies. In a previous paper, dealing with fatigue assessment of notches, the heat energy dissipated in a unit volume of material per cycle, Q, has been assumed as a fatigue damage index and a proper experimental procedure has been put forward to estimate the Q parameter at any point of a specimen or a component undergoing fatigue loadings [8]. Such experimental technique is based on temperature measurements performed by means of an infrared camera or a thermocouple glued at the point of a component where the fatigue assessment is to be performed and it has the advantage that thermal boundary conditions do not need to be controlled during experimental tests. The Q parameter has been applied to correlate fatigue test results obtained on smooth and bluntly notched specimens made of an AISI 304L stainless steel subjected either to constant amplitude [9,10] and two load level [11] fatigue tests. Being a point-related quantity, Q can hardly correlate fatigue test results generated from severely notched specimens, because the well known notch support effect makes questionable the use of peak quantities (stress-, strain- or energy-based) evaluated at the notch tip in order to assess fatigue life. In particular, the use of peak quantities evaluated at the apex of stress concentrators fails by a large amount in the case N