Slow crack growth: Models and experiments
Laboratoire de Physique, CNRS UMR 5672, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
Corresponding author: email@example.com
The properties of slow crack growth in brittle materials are analyzed both theoretically and experimentally. We propose a model based on a thermally activated rupture process. Considering a 2D spring network submitted to an external load and to thermal noise, we show that a preexisting crack in the network may slowly grow because of stress fluctuations. An analytical solution is found for the evolution of the crack length as a function of time, the time to rupture and the statistics of the crack jumps. These theoretical predictions are verified by studying experimentally the subcritical growth of a single crack in thin sheets of paper. A good agreement between the theoretical predictions and the experimental results is found. In particular, our model suggests that the statistical stress fluctuations trigger rupture events at a nanometric scale corresponding to the diameter of cellulose microfibrils.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2007