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Crack propagation and renucleation in soft brittle hydrogels

Mac Donald, Kimberley Ann and Ravichandran, Guruswami (2020) Crack propagation and renucleation in soft brittle hydrogels. International Journal of Fracture, 222 . pp. 37-52. ISSN 0376-9429. doi:10.1007/s10704-020-00430-w.

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Crack tip opening displacement (CTOD) and fracture energy are determined from crack geometry and material properties for very slowly propagating cracks, less than 50 μm/s, in thin brittle hydrogels on the sub-millimeter scale. 2D fluorescent speckle images are captured using confocal microscopy during propagation, and 3D volumetric images are captured both before propagation begins and after the crack arrests. Fracture energy builds up until a critical value is reached and then remains constant as the crack propagates and eventually arrests when the energy is no longer sufficient for propagation. Once a crack arrests, more energy is needed for renucleation, suggesting that local toughening effects are at play. Based on observations of renucleation events and analysis of 3D crack shapes, this local toughening points to a mechanism for fracture surface roughening observed in the literature for slowly propagating cracks. Additionally, through-thickness variation in fracture energy, while expected from linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) theory, suggests local toughening in the process zone which contributes to this roughening of crack surfaces.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Mac Donald, Kimberley Ann0000-0003-4512-9740
Ravichandran, Guruswami0000-0002-2912-0001
Additional Information:© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Received 05 August 2019; Accepted 28 January 2020; Published 12 February 2020. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1144469 and Award No. DMS-1535083 under the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program. Imaging was performed in the Biological Imaging Facility, with the support of the Caltech Beckman Institute and the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144469
Caltech Beckman InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Arnold and Mabel Beckman FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Brittle; Confocal microscopy; Fracture mechanics; Slow cracks; Soft gels
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200227-073910489
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Official Citation:Mac Donald, K.A., Ravichandran, G. Crack propagation and renucleation in soft brittle hydrogels. Int J Fract 222, 37–52 (2020).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101602
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Feb 2020 15:50
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:04

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