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DTD Handbook

Handbook for Damage Tolerant Design

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    • Sections
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Fundamentals of Damage Tolerance
      • 3. Damage Size Characterizations
      • 4. Residual Strength
      • 5. Analysis Of Damage Growth
      • 6. Examples of Damage Tolerant Analyses
        • 0. Examples of Damage Tolerant Analyses
        • 1. Damage Tolerance Analysis Procedure
        • 2. Damage Development And Progression
          • 0. Damage Development And Progression
          • 1. Slow Crack Growth Structure
          • 2. Multiple Load Path, Fail Safe Structure
          • 3. Crack Arrest, Fail Safe Structure
        • 3. Slow Crack Growth Structure
        • 4. Multiple Load Path Structure
        • 5. Fail Safe Multiple Load Path Structure
      • 7. Damage Tolerance Testing
      • 8. Force Management and Sustainment Engineering
      • 9. Structural Repairs
      • 10. Guidelines for Damage Tolerance Design and Fracture Control Planning
      • 11. Summary of Stress Intensity Factor Information
    • Examples

Section 6.2.3. Crack Arrest, Fail Safe Structure

The last example is Crack Arrest Fail Safe structure consisting of a skin with tear straps, as shown in Figure 6.2.3a.  Due to assembly drilling, skin, tear strap and shear clip are assumed to have  0.02 inch corner flaws, giving rise to cracks 1, 2, and 3.  Damage development is shown in Figure 6.2.3b.  Stress-intensity factor (K) development is shown in Figure 6.2.3c.  Corresponding points on the flights axes are indicated by A, B, C, and D.

Figure 6.2.3.  Damage Development in Crack Arrest Fail Safe Structure


First consider cracks 2 and 4 in the tear strap.  When crack 2 terminates due to ligament failure, the continuing damage is a 0.005 inch crack 4 without prior growth.  From point A onwards, growth of crack 4 will be rapid until the tear strap fails.

The independent previous growth of crack 1 was slow.  However, upon tear strap failure there will be load transfer from the cracked tear strap to the skin.  Consequently, there will be a sudden increase of the stress-intensity factor of the skin crack resulting in accelerated growth.  When K of the skin crack reaches Kc, instability (rapid crack growth) will occur, and the crack will run to the left tear strap.  Due to load transfer from the skin to the tear strap, K will drop (point C), and the instable crack will be arrested at the tear strap.

Subsequent damage development is strongly dependent upon remaining structure damage assumptions (which may be mutually agreed upon by the USAF and the contractor).  In this particular example, the most logical damage would be a 0.005 inch crack at both 5 and 6 (only prior growth of 5 should be considered).  At the moment of instability of crack 1, the shear clip will most likely be failed, because it was cracked already.  Hence, there will be little load transfer to the frame.  Therefore, it is most likely that crack 6 becomes unstable immediately in conjunction with crack 1, so that the skin crack would be from the left to the right tear strap.  This case would be as in JSSG-2006 paragraph A3.12.1d.  (A two-bay crack with the central strap failed).  It is questionable whether also the frame should be assumed cracked.  Upon failure of the shear clip, continuing damage requirements would strictly apply to the frame, at the next fastener hole (away from the primary damage source).  The complexity of these assumptions is obvious.

Further growth of the skin crack (with continuing cracks 5 and 7) will take place until Kc is reached again.  The period CD would have to be adequate, otherwise the structure would not qualify as Crack Arrest Fail Safe structure.