Crack Growth

Definition - What does Crack Growth mean?

Crack growth is defined as the widening, lengthening or increase in the number of cracks on a particular surface. The growth of a crack can be attributed to one or more factors including the application of additional loads, thermal stresses, stress concentrations and repetitive shrinkage/expansion cycles. Crack growth can significantly reduce the load carrying capacity of a structure and can occur in a variety of materials including metal, wood and concrete.

Crack growth is also known as crack propagation.

Corrosionpedia explains Crack Growth

The reasons for the formation of cracks in a structure are widely varied. They may be caused by overloading, stress concentrations, existing flaws or thermal expansions. The analysis of crack initiation and crack growth is essential when assessing the structural integrity of the component in question, as well as predicting future performance and possible manner of failure.

The field of mechanics concerned with the analysis of crack growth is called fracture mechanics.

Stress corrosion cracking is an example of a situation where crack growth can occur. Cracking may be initiated by intergranular corrosion, where the application of residual tensile forces can result in the rapid growth of cracks in the material’s microstructure.

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