The mechanism of flow and fracture of a gray cast iron can be understood if one considers the microstructure to consist of a ductile structure with a random dispersion of cracks due to the graphite flakes following the concept of Fisher. A notch effective stress can be calculated for a critically situated crack by a knowledge of the external stresses, a plastic stress-concentration factor of 3, and a residual tensile stress at the sharp edge of the crack, based upon either the “maximum-shear” theory or the “distortion-energy” theory. This allows the formulation of generalized plastic stress-strain relationships and renders gray cast iron applicable to the many known solutions for plastic flow of ductile metals. Fracture in the region of tension-tension and tension-compression can be evaluated by a similar analysis, using the same stress-concentration factor and the same residual stress. A combined stress-testing program is described wherein thin-walled cast-iron tubes are subjected to two-dimensional states of combined stress covering the complete two-dimensional field.

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