Module information on this degree can be found below, separated by year of study.

The module information below applies for the current academic year. The academic year runs from August to July; the 'current year' switches over at the end of July.

Students select optional courses subject to rules specified in the Mechanical Engineering Student Handbook,  for example at most three Design and Business courses. Please note that numbers are limited on some optional courses and selection criteria will apply.

Fracture Mechanics A

Module aims

Fracture mechanics concerns the design and analysis of structures which contain cracks or defects/flaws. Fracture mechanics answers questions such as: What is the largest sized crack that a structure can contain or the largest load the structure can bear for failure to be avoided? How long before a crack which was safe becomes unsafe? What material should be used in a certain application to ensure safety? This is a level 6 version of the enhanced level 7 FFM module and students cannot take both for credit towards their final degree.

ECTS units:    5    

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, students will be able to:

1. Explain the foundations, principles, application and limitations (both qualitative and quantitative) of linear elastic fracture mechanics, using appropriate terminology

2. Explain the micro-mechanisms of crack tip failure in metals, ceramics, polymers and fibre composite materials

3. Calculate the fracture toughness or fracture energy of a given material from data measured using a standard or well-defined specimen geometry

4. Formulate problems involving the static, fatigue or impact loading of flawed structures in terms of fracture mechanics

5. Predict - using fracture mechanics analysis - the residual strength or service live of a flawed structure or the critical size of a defect contained within

Module syllabus

Mechanisms of fracture in metals, ceramics, polymers and fibre composite materials. 
Cleavage, ductile to brittle transition, influence of temperature, strain rate and stress state
Introduction to linear fracture mechanics
Small scall yielding, extensive yielding, 'R-curve' effects
Application of principles to high and low strength steels and welded structures. 
Use of fracture mechanics to quantify failure under these conditions and to predict the service life of structures under creep (static), dynamics (fatigue) and impact loads. 
WLF equation, dynamic failure, DCB, SEN, CT and TDCB test methods. 
Beam correction factors. Interlaminar failure
Toughening mechanisms.


 ME2-hSAN and ME2-hMATL or equivalent

Teaching methods

Students will be introduced to the main topics through lectures, supported by technology (PowerPoint, Panapto and Blackboard). Short activities (using interactive pedagogies) will occasionally be introduced in the classroom setting to reinforce learning, for example through mentimeter and the like. You will be provided with problem solving sheets and should complete these as part of your independent study. Tutorials sessions will provide small group interaction with teaching staff where you are expected to engage in discussion on specific problems. 


Assessment details        
      Pass mark   
Grading method Numeric   40%
Assessment type Assessment description Weighting Pass mark Must pass?
Examination 3 Hour exam 100% 40% Y

Reading list


Module leaders

Dr Catrin Davies