Journal of Materials Science, Vol.32, No.3, 741-747, 1997
Cyclic Fatigue of Long and Short Cracks in Alumina
The cyclic fatigue behaviour of long and microstructurally short cracks in a 10 mu m grain-size alumina has been investigated. This material was found to be stress sensitive, a modest drop in applied stress resulting in a considerable lifetime enhancement. The growth of long cracks was studied using the circular compact tension geometry and was found to follow a Paris law behaviour. The crack path was entirely intergranular in this material with long fatigue crack growth governed by the degradation of crack-wake bridging. Short-crack growth was investigated using indented discs in a biaxial flexure geometry. Short cracks were observed to grow at lower values of applied Delta K than long cracks, increasing with crack length as bridging of the crack wake increased. The fatigue crack growth of AD90 alumina was also investigated by in situ testing within the specimen chamber of an SEM. The long-crack behaviour was found to be similar to the 10 mu m grain-size alumina and other data reported in the literature. However, the crack path followed a mixture of transgranular and intergranular fracture and discontinuous in nature with frequent arrests. The crack advancement mechanisms in these two alumina materials are different and affect the short-crack behaviour. However, in both cases the long-crack behaviour is dominated by crack-wake effects.