A three-point electrical potential difference method for in situ monitoring of propagating mixed-mode cracks at high temperature

V. Spitas, C. Spitas, P. Michelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper an electrical potential difference method for the real-time assessment of both the length and the direction of Mode II cracks is presented. Three measuring electrodes are placed in selected positions over the gauge area of a specially designed shear specimen and their readings are associated with the actual position of the crack tip using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). This information can be processed in real-time to provide continuous monitoring of the crack as it propagates either in pure Mode II (in-plane shear) or mixed Mode I (tension) and Mode II if the inclination of the crack exceeds 20°. In fatigue testing it is possible to produce dα/dN-ΔKII (in pure-shear) and dα/dN-ΔKI (in mixed-mode) plots on-line as the test is in execution. The method has been calibrated with optical measurements using a long-distance observation microscope on the nickel-based superalloy CMSX4 at high temperature. The main finding was that the central two sensing electrodes were sensitive to the length of the crack and insensitive to the crack angle, whereas the readings from the third electrode were sensitive to the crack angle and thus the exact position of the crack tip could be traced in real-time. Special techniques were implemented to rule-out thermoelectric effects and thermal stresses on the specimen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-959
Number of pages10
JournalMeasurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2010



  • Inclined cracks
  • Mixed-mode cracks
  • Potential drop method
  • Real-time measurement
  • Shear testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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