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A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials

Knauss, Wolfgang G. (2015) A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials. International Journal of Fracture, 196 (1-2). pp. 99-146. ISSN 0376-9429.

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This review is written in honor of Max L. Williams who not only started this International Journal of Fracture (the author’s Ph.D. advisor. Originally the Journal was called International Journal of Fracture Mechanics) but who had a seminally fundamental influence on the course of fracture mechanics in general, and specifically as applied to the time dependent failure of elastomers/polymers. In view of that background this article reviews developments over more than 50 years, as colored by my own experiences in regard to this topic. It seems appropriate to include a historical perspective that starts during pre-journal times and addresses the need for understanding time dependent processes governing fracture in rate sensitive materials. To the largest extent, the rate dependence is important where polymers are involved, though under more limited conditions metals and igneous solids as well as ligneous ones exhibit time dependent fracture characteristics. Such facts notwithstanding, the major discussion in this contribution is devoted here to the time dependent fracture of polymeric materials, and elastomeric ones in particular. The emphasis will be thus on time dependent issues governed primarily by the fracture processes in elastomeric solids, which have evolved largely in parallel to problems devoted to the more rigid polymers. Because consideration of fracture of the rigid polymers has often, if not usually, minimized the time dependence, only cursory attention is paid to these, in spite of the fact that they constitute a very important class of materials in the modern engineering community. From an engineering perspective this review is motivated also by an exposition of a persistent lack of knowledge concerning time dependent fracture issues. Most of the work attached to the notion of viscoelastic fracture is—intentionally or by omission—associated with the phenomenon of crack growth under steady state conditions with the expectation that this understanding leads implicitly to resolution of problems governed by transient loadings. Besides reviewing the historical evolution of the knowledge in this field over the past half century, it is a main purpose of this paper to offer information that has either been ignored or has not been explored (this includes the work of the author), but which contradicts this “popular” perception. It is thus an intentionally large part of this presentation which documents compelling motivation for addressing fracture aspects, that are generally important from an engineering design and analysis point-of-view: specifically, it is intended to illustrate the remarkable degree by which the steady state solution to crack propagation deviates from experimental information when transient conditions prevail, and the large range of time scales over which this failure behavior is observed.

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Additional Information:© 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Received: 30 July 2015; Accepted: 20 November 2015; Published online: 28 December 2015.
Subject Keywords:Viscoelasticity; Fracture; Time-dependent fracture; Polymer fracture; Elastomer fracture
Issue or Number:1-2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160226-074130931
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:64787
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Feb 2016 22:09
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 09:41

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