Notch Toughness

Notch toughness is the ability that a material possesses to absorb energy in the presence of a flaw. As mentioned previously, in the presence of a flaw, such as a notch or crack, a material will likely exhibit a lower level of toughness. When a flaw is present in a material, loading induces a triaxial tension stress state adjacent to the flaw. The material develops plastic strains as the yield stress is exceeded in the region near the crack tip. However, the amount of plastic deformation is restricted by the surrounding material, which remains elastic. When a material is prevented from deforming plastically, it fails in a brittle manner.

Notch-toughness is measured with a variety of specimens such as the Charpy V-notch impact specimen or the dynamic tear test specimen. As with regular impact testing the tests are often repeated numerous times with specimens tested at a different temperature. With these specimens and by varying the loading speed and the temperature, it is possible to generate curves such as those shown in the graph. Typically only static and impact testing is conducted but it should be recognized that many components in service see intermediate loading rates in the range of the dashed red line.

Plots of the fracture state vs temperature with results from multiple swing speads yields multiple Charpy curves.