Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Alten F. Grandt, Jr.

Committee Chair

Alten F. Grandt, Jr.

Committee Member 1

Chin-Teh Sun

Committee Member 2

Weinong Chen

Committee Member 3

Vikas Tomar


The objective of this research is to analyze and predict the interaction of surface cracks that occur in parallel planes. Multiple cracks may form in aging aircraft that forms at stress concentrations such as fastener holes and notched components by stress corrosion and fatigue cracking. The lifetime of the structures are significantly affected by the interaction between these cracks. Depending on relative positions and orientations of neighboring cracks, local stress fields and crack driving forces can be affected by the presence of adjacent cracks. Even small subcritical cracks may rapidly grow to a size that will cause failure in service due to interaction and coalescence with other cracks. ^ The interaction behavior and crack propagation direction of two parallel surface cracks is studied using three-dimensional finite element analysis (FEA). FEA models with wide range of crack configurations in a finite plate under tension are evaluated to investigate the correlation between the crack shapes and the separation distance between two cracks. The relative distance (vertical and horizontal) between two cracks and size and shape of these cracks are varied to create different stress interaction fields. Stress intensity factors (SIF) along the crack fronts are obtained from FEA, and then, cracking behaviors of the cracks are predicted by considering the influence of the interaction on the SIF and the coalescence of two cracks. The results obtained are then compared with existing experimental and analytical data for validation. All of the data analyses are presented in tabular forms and figures.