The aim of this paper is to calculate how the surface crack front and the dimensionless compliance evolve in cracked cylindrical bars subjected to cyclic tension or bending with different initial crack geometries (crack depths and aspect ratios). To this end, a computer application (in the Java programming language) that calculates the crack front’s geometric evolution and the dimensionless compliance was made by discretizing the crack front (characterized with elliptical shape) and assuming that every point advances perpendicularly to the crack front according to the Paris law, and using a three-parameter stress intensity factor (SIF). The results show that in fatigue crack propagation, relative crack depth influences more on dimensionless compliance than the aspect ratio, because the crack front tends to converge when the crack propagates from different initial geometries, showing greater values for tension than for bending. Furthermore, during fatigue crack growth, materials with higher values of the exponent of the Paris law produce slightly greater dimensionless compliance and a better convergence between the results for straight-fronted and circular initial cracks.
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