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Study on the mechanisms and quantitative law of mode I supersonic crack propagation

Bin Liu's picture

     Continuum mechanics predicts that the propagation speed of non-equilibrium information in solids is limited by the longitudinal wave speed, so is crack propagation. However, solids are essentially discrete systems. In this paper, via theoretical analysis and numerical simulations, it is demonstrated in a straightforward way that non-equilibrium disturbance (e.g. force, displacement, energy, and so on) can propagate at a supersonic speed in discrete systems, although the magnitude of the disturbance attenuates very quickly. In dynamic fracture, a cascade of atomic-bond breaking events provides an amplification mechanism to counterbalance the attenuation of the disturbance. Therefore, supersonic crack propagation can be realized in a domino way. Another key factor for supersonic crack propagation is to ensure sufficient energy flowing into the crack tip. Since most energy can only be transferred at a speed limited by the longitudinal wave speed, the conditions for the occurrence of supersonic crack propagation are not easily met in most situations, unless there is high pre-stored energy along the crack path or continuous energy supply from the loading concomitantly moving with the crack tip. A quantitative relation between supersonic crack propagation speed and material properties and parameters is given, which implies that knowing all the classical macroscopic quantities is not enough in determining the supersonic crack propagation speed, and the microstructure does play a role. Moreover, it is interesting to note that fracture toughness affects the crack propagation speed in the subsonic regime, but not in the supersonic regime, because the deformation/stress is uniform in front of a supersonic crack where strength criterion dominates. The paper can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2012.04.008 

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