Crystallographic mechanism for fatigue crack propagation through grain boundaries

T. Zhai, A. J. Wilkinson, J. W. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

388 Scopus citations


A crystallographic model is proposed which takes into account both crack-plane twist and tilt effects on crack retardation at grain boundaries. The twist and tilt angles of the crack-plane deflection at a grain boundary are the key factors that control the path and growth rate of a short crack. Because of crack-plane twist, the area between the traces on the grain-boundary plane of the crack planes across the boundary has to be fractured in order for the crack to propagate through the boundary. This presents significant resistance to crack growth. As the area to be fractured increases with the extent of crack growth beneath the surface of observation, the grain boundary could still resist crack growth after the crack tip has passed the grain boundary on the surface, until the crack propagates through the whole boundary below the surface. A grain boundary with a large twist component could cause a short crack to arrest or branch. Studies of short fatigue crack growth in an Al-Li 8090 alloy plate provide evidence that supports the model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4917-4927
Number of pages11
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number20
StatePublished - Dec 4 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research programme was funded by EPSRC (GR/L48669). A. J. W. thanks the Royal Society for provision of a URF. The authors would like to thank Professor B. Cantor for useful discussions.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'Crystallographic mechanism for fatigue crack propagation through grain boundaries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this