Analytical and experimental studies are performed on the electrical potential drop method for monitoring the properties of a surface crack. Integral formulas for potential drops for direct currents are derived by applying Green's theorem to the Laplace equation governing potential drop behaviour. Based on these formulas, a simple non-destructive method is proposed for evaluating the depth of a surface half-elliptic crack and for calibrating potential drop behaviour. The validity and applicability of this method are assessed through the comparison of analysis and experiment.
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