Capturing and micromechanical analysis of the crack-branching behavior in welded joints

Wang, Wenjie and Yang, Jie and Chen, Haofeng and Yang, Qianyu (2020) Capturing and micromechanical analysis of the crack-branching behavior in welded joints. Metals, 10 (10). 1308. ISSN 2075-4701 (

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During the crack propagation process, the crack-branching behavior makes fracture more unpredictable. However, compared with the crack-branching behavior that occurs in brittle materials or ductile materials under dynamic loading, the branching behavior has been rarely reported in welded joints under quasi-static loading. Understanding the branching criterion or the mechanism governing the bifurcation of a crack in welded joints is still a challenge. In this work, three kinds of crack-branching models that reflect simplified welded joints were designed, and the aim of the present paper is to find and capture the crack-branching behavior in welded joints and to shed light on its branching mechanism. The results show that as long as there is another large enough propagation trend that is different from the original crack propagation direction, then crack-branching behavior occurs. A high strength mismatch that is induced by both the mechanical properties and dimensions of different regions is the key of crack branching in welded joints. Each crack branching is accompanied by three local high stress concentrations at the crack tip. Three pulling forces that are created by the three local high stress concentrations pull the crack, which propagates along with the directions of stress concentrations. Under the combined action of the three pulling forces, crack branching occurs, and two new cracks initiate from the middle of the pulling forces.