Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering


The field of fracture mechanics has been of great interest to scientists for many years. In 1776, Coulomb, a French scientist, proposed a certain criterion - for yielding. This idea was later developed by an Italian researcher Tresca. More recently, Weibull, a German· scientist, studied the statistical aspect of fracture. In 1913, Inglis derived the mathematical formulae for the stress distribution around an elliptical void, and has demonstrated that for a very narrow ellipse (say crack) the stress concentration factor becomes very large. In 1921, A.A. Griffith and, a British scientist, was led by this idea to propose his theory of rupture and flow in solids. It was Griffith who opened the field of fracture mechanics for the contemporary scientists. Griffith has used the equations describing the stress distribution around a crack·, as derived earlier by Inglis, to derive a theoretical formula for the critical stress. Although this equation was not scientifically recognized at that time, it 1s of a great practical importance today. The first American scientist who contributed to fracture mechanics 1s Westergaard. He derived the equations for stress distribution around a two dimensional crack by means of a stress function of complex variable.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fracture mechanics



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University