Crack path deviation in Single Edge Notch Tension (SENT) specimens, and its influence on the determination of J, has been investigated as part of the development of a new British Standard for SENT testing, BS 8571 . Crack path deviation by angles up to 50° have been observed during stable tearing in parent material SENT specimens. This paper investigates the effect of crack path deviation on the measured fracture toughness, and offers a correction formula when crack path deviation invalidates the default standard J equations. Mixed mode effects in crack path deviation are also investigated.
A parametric study using finite element analysis has been carried out to compare the value of J calculated using standard equations (which assume a straight crack propagation path) with the value of J calculated using the contour integral method for different levels of crack path deviation. Crack path deviation from the initial crack plane resulted in a non-conservative estimate of fracture toughness using the standard equations. This means that any SENT test exhibiting crack path deviation may need to be discarded, wasting valuable test specimens. Instead, a correction factor has been developed to adjust the calculated value of J if path deviation is observed.