Validation of a cyclic plasticity computational method using fatigue full-field deformation measurements

The evolution of crack tip displacement and strain fields during uniaxial, room temperature, low-cycle fatigue experiments of Nickel superalloy compact tension specimens was measured by a digital image correlation approach and was further used to validate a cyclic plasticity model and corresponding deformation calculations made by a finite elements methodology. The experimental results provided data trends for the opening displacements and near crack tip strains as function of cycles. A finite element model was developed to capture test conditions for a measured crack size. The model captures crack tip plasticity by using a constitutive model calibrated against stress-strain measurements performed on a round bar. Similar quantities were extracted from the model predictions to compare with the digital image correlation measurements for model validation purposes. This type of direct comparison demonstrated that the computational model was capable to adequately capture the crack opening displacements at various stages of the specimen's fatigue life, providing in this way a tool for quantitative cyclic plasticity model validation. In addition, this integrated experimental-computational approach provides a framework to accelerate our understanding related to interactions of fatigue test data and models, as well as ways to inform one another.