Abstract

Fatigue crack growth can occur in elastomeric structures whenever cyclic loading is applied. In order to design robust products, sensitivity to fatigue crack growth must be investigated and minimized. The task has two basic components: (1) to define the material behavior through measurements showing how the crack growth rate depends on conditions that drive the crack, and (2) to compute the conditions experienced by the crack. Important features relevant to the analysis of structures include time-dependent aspects of rubber’s stress-strain behavior (as recently demonstrated via the dwell period effect observed by Harbour et al.), and strain induced crystallization. For the numerical representation, classical fracture mechanical concepts are reviewed and the novel material force approach is introduced. With the material force approach at hand, even dissipative effects of elastomeric materials can be investigated. These complex properties of fatigue crack behavior are illustrated in the context of tire durability simulations as an important field of application.

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