The endochronic cyclic plasticity with finite element analysis (EndoFEM) is employed to simulate plasticity-induced crack closure phenomenon of Al 2024-T3 CCT specimens under maximum cyclic stress of 80MPa and 0.1 stress ratio (R). Various fatigue crack lengths are generated by a rc dominated-node-released strategy. The suitability of element-mesh planning around crack tip is supported by the real simulations in the decreasing tendencies of crack opening load (Pop) with increased distance behind the crack tip, and the enough elements to reflect the reversed plastic responses at minimum load.
EndoFEM results of vertical stress ahead of the crack tip show a typical distribution of small scale yield (SSY) in the realm of fracture mechanics; and Pop/Pmax ratio determined at 1mm behind crack tip is kept constant i.e. Kmax-independent. In these cases, fatigue parameters based on either the far field loading parameter ΔK, the effective ΔK (ΔKeff) with crack closure effect, or the mechanical responses ahead of crack tip (e.g. stress parameter, reversed (plastic) strain at 1mm) are all equivalent and are linearly correlated with the stage II fatigue crack growth (FCP) rate. However, for longer crack length with the ligament bending effect or shorter crack length with the starter notch effect, the Pop/Pmax ratio decreases and changes the SSY stress distribution. This result reduces the usefulness of the above fatigue parameters. As a consequence, a nonlinear correlation of FCP rates with ΔK or ΔKeff are purely empirical. The Kmax-dependent ΔKeff must be considered in the correlation as suggested by the present study of EndoFEM.