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Downscaling of fracture energy during brittle creep experiments

Lengliné, O. and Schmittbuhl, J. and Elkhoury, J. E. and Ampuero, J.-P. and Toussaint, R. and Måløy, K. J. (2011) Downscaling of fracture energy during brittle creep experiments. Journal of Geophysical Research B, 116 (B8). Art. No. B08215. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2010JB008059.

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We present mode 1 brittle creep fracture experiments along fracture surfaces that contain strength heterogeneities. Our observations provide a link between smooth macroscopic time-dependent failure and intermittent microscopic stress-dependent processes. We find the large-scale response of slow-propagating subcritical cracks to be well described by an Arrhenius law that relates the fracture speed to the energy release rate. At the microscopic scale, high-resolution optical imaging of the transparent material used (PMMA) allows detailed description of the fracture front. This reveals a local competition between subcritical and critical propagation (pseudo stick-slip front advances) independently of loading rates. Moreover, we show that the local geometry of the crack front is self-affine and the local crack front velocity is power law distributed. We estimate the local fracture energy distribution by combining high-resolution measurements of the crack front geometry and an elastic line fracture model. We show that the average local fracture energy is significantly larger than the value derived from a macroscopic energy balance. This suggests that homogenization of the fracture energy is not straightforward and should be taken cautiously. Finally, we discuss the implications of our results in the context of fault mechanics.

Item Type:Article
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Ampuero, J.-P.0000-0002-4827-7987
Additional Information:© 2011 American Geophysical Union. Received 25 October 2010; accepted 6 June 2011; published 27 August 2011. We gratefully acknowledge fruitful discussions with K.T. Tallakstad, V. Lazarus, N. Pindra, S. Santucci, S. Roux, J.P. Leblond, M. Bouchon, H. Karabulut, P. Meredith, P. Baud, and M. Heap and experimental support by Alain Steyer. This research is funded by ANR grant SUPNAF. J.E.E. was supported by a Caltech Seismological Laboratory fellowship. J.E.E. and J.P.A. were partially supported by the National Science Foundation (grant EAR‐1015698). We thank Ian Main, the Associate Editor, and an anonymous reviewer for useful suggestions. Some figures were drawn with GMT software [Wessel and Smith, 1995].
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)SUPNAF
Caltech Seismological Laboratory fellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:brittle creep; fracture energy
Issue or Number:B8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110922-112538919
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Official Citation:Lengliné, O., J. Schmittbuhl, J. E. Elkhoury, J.-P. Ampuero, R. Toussaint, and K. J. Måløy (2011), Downscaling of fracture energy during brittle creep experiments, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B08215, doi:10.1029/2010JB008059.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:25400
Deposited On:22 Sep 2011 22:58
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:32

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