Cyclic bending is a dominant loading mode in structures sustaining thermal loads. Under cyclic bending loads, a crack also initiates and propagates on the counter surface while the main crack grows. And then, these cracks meet and penetrate the thickness of the component. Numerical analysis was performed for the evaluation of the main elliptical crack propagation and crack initiation and propagation at the counter surface under cyclic out-of-plane bending. An inelastic three-dimensional finite element analysis took crack opening and closure into account. When the front surface is in tension, the main crack opens and the compressive strain on the counter surface increases. Thus, deeper the main crack, larger the total strain range on the counter surface and this stimulates crack initiation on the counter surface. As the main crack propagates, the J-integral range at the deepest point decreases for deeper than 40 % of the plate thickness, and the crack grows slower. On the other hand, the J-integral range of the counter surface crack increase rapidly and crack propagation rate of the counter crack becomes larger than that of the main crack. Both the cracks on front and counter surfaces meet near 2/3 of the plate thickness of the component. The calculated crack propagation rates in both longitudinal and depth directions of the main and the counter surface cracks based on the J-integral ranges are close to the experimental ones.

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