A factor used in fracture mechanics to specify the stress internsity at the tip of a crack.
The stress intensity factor, K, is used in fracture mechanics to predict the stress state ("stress intensity") near the tip of a crack caused by a remote load or residual stresses. It is a theoretical construct usually applied to a homogeneous, linear elastic material and is useful for providing a failure criterion for brittle materials. The concept can also be applied to materials that exhibit small-scale yielding at a crack tip. The magnitude of K depends on sample geometry, the size and location of the crack, and the magnitude and the modal distribution of loads on the material.