Abstract: Fracture Mechanics constitutes a well-established scientific and technical discipline that has been developed considering that the existing defects are crack-like defects. However, there are situations where the defects causing the structural failure may be non-sharp. Some examples are structural details acting as stress risers, pores, mechanical damage, weld defects or corrosion defects. The stress concentration in the notch tip is considerably less severe than that existing in the crack tip and, consequently, the load-carrying capacity of a notched component is generally higher than that in an equivalent cracked component. This fact has led in many cases to notch assessments where this type of defects are treated as cracks, something that ensures safe but (in many cases) over-conservative results. In other occasions, notches are not specifically addressed, leading to catastrophic failures. Within this context, the Spanish Network on Notch Fracture (Red Española de Fractura de Entallas, REFE) intends to create a network where its different participants may share their research on notch fracture processes, analysing the different existing approaches, creating synergies and positioning the different research groups in the international arena on this topic. The Network receives funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (Grant MAT2015-71668-REDT). One of its main initiatives has been the organization of the International Symposium on Notch Fracture (ISNF), which was held in Santander from March 29th to March 31st, 2017. The Symposium aimed to present original, unpublished research and recent developments on Notch Fracture and Fatigue Mechanics. The technical programme of the ISNF consisted of plenary lectures, paper presentations and a poster session. The symposium covered the following scientific and technical topics: - Notch Fracture in metals, ceramics, polymers and composites. - Approaches to Notch Fracture: Theory of Critical Distances, - Energy Methods, Cohesive Zone Models, characteristic lengths, microstructural factors, material constants, etc. - Fracture micromechanisms in notches. - Fracture characterization of notched materials. - Structural integrity approaches in notch analyses. - Fatigue emanating from notches. - Case Studies. This Special Issue gathers the main contributions presented in the Symposium, selected after a strict peer review process. The selected papers cover a significant range of topics related with fracture and fatigue of materials in the presence of notches. As guest editors, we hope this Issue will provide a noteworthy impact in notch research. We would also like to express our gratitude to all authors for their contributions and to all reviewers for their generous work to guarantee the excellence of the papers. Finally, it is necessary to dedicate special thanks to Prof. Luca Susmel, editor in- chief of Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics, and to Elsevier staff for their support during the preparation of this volume.
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