Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Ashok Saxena

Committee Member

James C. Newman, Jr.

Second Committee Member

Sunder Ramasubbu

Third Committee Member

Joseph J. Rencis

Fourth Committee Member

Douglas E. Spearot

Fifth Committee Member

Min Zou


Applied sciences, Compact specimen, Crack growth, Creep-fatigue, Double edge notch, Finite element, P91


The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has recently developed a new standard for creep-fatigue crack growth testing, E 2760-10, that supports testing compact specimens, C(T), under load controlled conditions. C(T) specimens are commonly used for fatigue and creep-fatigue crack growth testing under constant-load-amplitude conditions. The use of these specimens is limited to positive load ratios. They are also limited in the amount of crack growth data that can be developed at high stress intensity values due to accumulation of plastic and/or creep strains leading to ratcheting in the specimen. Testing under displacement control can potentially address these shortcomings of the load-controlled tests for which the C(T) geometry is unsuitable.

A double edge notch tension-compression, DEN(T-C), specimen to perform displacement controlled creep-fatigue crack growth testing is developed and optimized with the help of finite element and boundary element analyses. Accurate expressions for estimating the fracture mechanics crack tip parameters such as the stress intensity parameter, K, the crack mouth opening displacement (CMOD), and the load-line displacement (LLD) are developed over a wide range of crack sizes for the DEN(T-C) specimen. A new compliance relationship for use in experimental testing has been developed by using the compliance form available in ASTM E-647 standard. Experimentally determined compliance value compared well with the new relation for C15 steel (AISI 1015) and P91 steel tested at room and elevated temperature conditions respectively. Fatigue crack growth rate data generated using the DEN(T-C) specimens on the two metallic materials are in good agreement with the data generated using standard compact specimens; thus validating the stress-intensity factor and the compliance equation for the double edge notch tension-compression specimen. The testing has shown that the DEN(T-C) specimen is prone to crack asymmetry issues. Through inspection of fatigue surfaces, it has been found that that better alignment control procedures are needed to ensure symmetric crack fronts for the DEN(T-C) specimen.

Creep-fatigue crack growth tests were conducted on 9Cr-1Mo (P91) steels at 625°C with various hold times. These tests were conducted using C(T) specimens under constant load amplitude conditions (tension-tension) and DEN(T-C) specimens under displacement like conditions (tension-compression). Crack growth data generated under creep-fatigue conditions using standard C(T) specimens correlated well with crack growth data generated using DEN(T-C) specimens. The crack growth rates per cycle increased significantly with increase in hold time when crack growth data were plotted with the cyclic stress intensity parameter, Delta-K. A transient behavior in the initial portion of da/dN versus Delta-K plots were observed for the hold time tests, as reported previously by several other researchers. It is shown for the C(T) specimens that the creep-fatigue interactions during crack growth for various hold times are represented better by the (Ct)avg parameter implying that the P91 steel behaves in a creep-ductile manner. Significant differences (factors of 2 to 5) were observed between the calculated values of (Ct)avg and those based on measured values of force-line deflection. It is also shown that there is a high risk of obtaining invalid data in longer hold time tests under force-control conditions.

The usefulness of DEN(T-C) specimens for crack growth studies under displacement controlled conditions to combat ratcheting problems in tests conducted under load conditions is established. The tests conditions for the round-robin program on creep-fatigue crack growth testing in support of ASTM E-2760 are finalized. Further developments needed in creep-fatigue crack growth testing are also presented.