A.A. Griffith: The phenomena of rupture and flow in solids

Zhigang Suo's picture

GRIFFITH AA, The phenomena of rupture and flow in solids. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Sereis A, 221:163-198, 1921.

This is the foundational paper of fracture mechanics, and foreshadows much of the subsequent development. I urge all my students to start reading it when they take the course of fracture mechanics, and return to it for illumination later in their careers. In class, I spend several lectures just talking about this paper, uncluttered by the later refinements.

In this paper, Griffith proposed his theory, described his experiments, speculated about molecular basis and size effects. For all its content, the paper is very readable, and has a totally modern outlook.

His way of treating fracture also gives a first clear example of configurational force, and of competition between elastic and surface energy.

A.A. Griffith (1893-1963)

Ravi-Chandar's picture

This ranks highest in my list

I like the idea of posting all time highs. Can we have a voting system? Does this sound line a variant of the journal club?

I too will place Griffith's paper at the top my all time highs. It is a masterpiece. Revolutionary. Complete. Groundbreaking. It looks at a problem in its totality rather than nibble at the edges. What more can I say?

I have a couple of papers to add to this list, one by Taylor and another by Mott.

 2. -->The Use of Flat-Ended Projectiles for Determining Dynamic Yield Stress. I. Theoretical Considerations
Geoffrey Taylor
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Vol. 194, No. 1038 (Sep., 1948), pp. 289-299

Fragmentation of Shell Cases
N. F. Mott
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Vol. 189, No. 1018 (May, 1947), pp. 300-308

Both these papers capture the essential physics through observations and then back this up with very simple analysis that brings out the basic ideas elegantly.


Zhigang Suo's picture

We may install a voting module later

But for now, you can simply enter your choices of classics as blog entries, one publication per entry.  Be sure to select "classics" from the dropdown list of "Tags featured in the header of iMechanica".

Thank you, Ravi, for your encouragement.