Localised prior strain-hardening increases the tearing resistance of ductile steel

Harry Coules*, Graeme Horne, Matthew Peel, Thomas Connolley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


In structural materials, ‘intrinsic’ toughening originates from plastic dissipation of strain energy at the tips of cracks. This depends on a material's microstructure and its stress–strain response. By introducing a spatially-varying distribution of prior strain-hardening into a material, we can modify the stress field which develops around a crack as it is loaded, producing an increased resistance to ductile tearing. We demonstrate this toughening effect using synchrotron X-ray diffraction and digital image correlation measurements of the crack tip region in a ductile ferritic steel. Localised strain-hardening also introduces a residual stress, but this is shown not to contribute significantly to the initiation of tearing in this material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Sciences
Early online date10 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Ductile tearing
  • Digital image correlation
  • Energy-dispersive X-ray diffraction
  • Finite element analysis


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