Table of Contents
ISRN Materials Science
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 689386, 8 pages
Research Article

Estimation of Fracture Toughness by Testing Notched Fracture Specimens and Applying the Theory of Critical Distances

Departamento de Ciencia e Ingeniería del Terreno y de los Materiales, Universidad de Cantabria, Av/Los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Cantabria, Spain

Received 14 June 2012; Accepted 12 August 2012

Academic Editors: C. S. Ha and P. Karjalainen

Copyright © 2012 S. Cicero et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper applies a methodology that allows the fracture toughness of a given material to be estimated by testing notched fracture toughness specimens and applying the Theory of Critical Distances, which requires the elastic stress field at the notch tip to be determined by finite elements simulation. This methodology, which is not intended to substitute any standardised fracture characterisation procedure, constitutes an alternative in those situations where pre-cracking processes may be too time-consuming, too expensive or, simply, cannot be performed. It comprises testing two notched specimens with different notch radii, defining the corresponding stress fields at fracture by using finite elements analysis, and applying the Theory of Critical Distances in order to calibrate the material’s critical distance and to apply the corresponding apparent fracture toughness formulation. The methodology has been applied to two different materials, PMMA and Al7075-T651, and the results have proven that, as long as the Theory of Critical Distances has been applied within its validity range, the fracture toughness estimations are highly accurate.