MECH ENG 7023 - Fracture Mechanics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

The focus of this course is to develop an understanding of the mechanics of fracture of engineering materials and structures under static and dynamic loading. Students will be taught the principles of linear elastic and elastic-plastic fracture mechanics and their application to engineering design. This course will also introduce key applications of fracture mechanics in industry including damage detection, failure analysis, and experimental techniques.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 7023
    Course Fracture Mechanics
    Coordinating Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge MATHS 2202, MECH ENG 2002 & MECH ENG 3030 (or equivalent)
    Assessment Assignments, Tutorials, Project, Lab class, Final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Andrei Kotousov

    Course Coordinator: A/Prof Andrei Kotousov

    Lecturers: Mr Aditya Khanna and A/Prof Andrei Kotousov

    Teaching Assistants: Mr Zhuang He and Mr Anthony Roccisano

    Student and Program Support Officer: Ms Tracy Miller

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Each week consists of lectures and tutorial/lab classes. Further details will be provided in the lectures.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Have a solid foundation in the theory, concepts and principles of fracture mechanics.
    2 Be gaining the physical intuition necessary to idealise a complicated practical problem.
    3 Possess the analytical and computational tools needed to solve the idealised problem.
    4 Have acquired the judgment required to interpret the results of these solutions.
    5 Be able to use these solutions to guide a corresponding design, manufacture, or failure analysis.
    6 Be able to work independently and as part of a team in order to implement their skills and knowledge in both theoretical and practical applications.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.4   1.5   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   3.6   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Extensive lecture notes are provided. The purchase of text-books is not necessary for the successful completion of this course though it is encouraged for extra learning.

    Electronic copies of the lecture notes as well as any additional material provided in-class will be available through the online myuni system.

    Recommended Resources

    Many suitable text-books are available for further reading through the University of Adelaide Library, and are available for purchase from text-book suppliers.

    Recommended reading:

    • Anderson, T.L. Fracture Mechanics – Fundamentals and Applications. CRC Press.
    • Janssen, M., Zuidema, J., Wanhill, R. Fracture Mechanics. Spon Press.
    Online Learning

    Electronic copies of the lecture notes as well as any additional material provided in-class will be available through the online myuni system. Extended study material will also be provided through the online system for students keen to gain further knowledge and application.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Course material is delivered through lectures, which are supported each week by problem-solving tutorials and lab classes. The regular lab classes provide hands on experience with the material learnt in the lectures. The problem-solving tutorials give students a chance to try and solve mathematical fracture mechanics problems from each topic.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Fracture Mechanics is a challenging subject containing a series of new concepts, theories and solution methods, which are linked like a chain. Since the subject is concept and theory intensive, the most effective way to understand the new concepts and theories is to attend the lectures and tutorials. During a lecture you can have instant interactions with the lecturer, by asking questions and thinking about questions raised by others. It is always a good idea to read the lecture notes before attending a lecture, for just a few minutes, to make sure that you know roughly the material to be covered in the lecture.

    Lectures, tutorials, and lab classes comprise of 4 hours contact time per week. The total amount of time needed each week by the student to revise lecture notes and complete the assignments/reports will vary greatly from student to student. As a rough guide, the average standard undergraduate course weekly workload for a 3 unit course is 12 hours, including contact time.

    Learning Activities Summary

    The course structure is as follows:

    (a) What and Why Fracture Mechanics
    (b) Goals of Fracture Mechanics
    (c) Brief historical overview

    (a) Review of the basic concept of the Solid Mechanics
    (b) Basic solutions of the Theory of Elasticity
    (c) An overview of the Theory of Plasticity

    (a) Stress near the crack tip
    (b) Fracture initiation criterion
    (c) Stress intensity factor
    (d) Intro to LEFM in design

    (a) Fracture at the atomic scale
    (b) Griffith energy balance
    (c) Strain energy release rate
    (d) Fracture analysis based on compliance

    (a) Analytical methods
    (b) Numerical methods

    (a) Small-scale yielding approximation
    (b) Thickness effect of fracture toughness
    (c) Intro to Failure Assessment Diagram (FAD)
    (d) J-Integral

    (a) Stages of fatigue
    (b) Total life approaches
    (c) Fatigue crack propagation
    (d) Factors influencing fatigue crack growth
    (e) Plasticity effects on fatigue

    (a) Stability and the R-curve
    (b) Rapid crack propagation
    (c) High strain rate initiation
    (c) Creep and Viscoelastic crack growth

    (a) Fracture mechanisms in metals
    (b) Fatigue mechanisms in metals
    (c) Fracture in non-metals

    (a) Standard fracture specimens
    (b) Test methods and testing standards
    (c) Dynamic fracture testing
    (d) Experimental methods to determine K

    (a) Purpose of failure analysis
    (b) Causes of failure
    (c) Carrying out failure investigations

    (a) Fail-safe approach design approach
    (b) Safe-life design approach
    (c) Damage tolerance concept

    (a) Why non-destructive evaluation?
    (b) Methods for non-destructive evaluation
    (c) Applications and current research

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    In-class tutorials 9 Individual Summative Weeks 2,4,8,10 1. 2. 3. 4.
    Lab classes 18 Individual Summative Weeks 5,8,10,13 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Case Study & Assignment 6.5 Individual Summative Week 9 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Fracture Prediction Project 6.5 Individual or Group Summative Weeks 11 and 13 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Exam 60 Individual Summative Exam week 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    Assessment Related Requirements

    The assessment tasks listed above, with the exception of the final exam, are not compulsory and have no minimum grade requirements. However, all assessment tasks are included in the calculation of the final course grade. It should be noted that students choosing not to complete an assessment task will receive no feedback on that task or stage of the course and will severely hinder their learning.

    Assessment Detail

    Assignments and in-class tutorials are provided as part of the learning experience. Students are expected to enhance their knowledge, problem solving skills and understanding of the subject matter through completing the assignments and quizzes. The assignments and tutorials are marked, with the mark contributing to the final grade for the subject.

    The case study, fracture prediction project and lab classes allow students to consolidate and apply all of the material they have covered in the course. These assessments focus on the ability of the students to analyse a practical problem based on what they have learned in the course.

    The examination is a summative assessment and is intended to assess the students’ knowledge and understanding of the course material and how it fits into the global engineering context. The exam is open-book.


    Submission of assignments and reports is through hardcopies via the submission boxes located on level 2 of Engineering South Building Assignment submission area. Please ensure a cover sheet is attached to all submissions.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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