Finite element analysis has been used to investigate the fatigue behaviour observed in testing a layered structure (representative of an automotive journal bearing). The aim of the analysis was to explain the deflection or bifurcation observed as a fatigue crack propagates through the multi-layered structure of a bearing. A fracture mechanics approach was adopted using detailed evaluations of the J-integral to assess and monitor both crack tip driving force and directional propensity with crack growth. Crack shielding or anti-shielding as well as deflection or bifurcation were conclusively linked to the difference between the fundamental elasto-plastic properties of the various constituent materials
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