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Published September 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Average crack-front velocity during subcritical fracture propagation in a heterogeneous medium


We study the average velocity of crack fronts during stable interfacial fracture experiments in a heterogeneous quasibrittle material under constant loading rates and during long relaxation tests. The transparency of the material (polymethylmethacrylate) allows continuous tracking of the front position and relation of its evolution to the energy release rate. Despite significant velocity fluctuations at local scales, we show that a model of independent thermally activated sites successfully reproduces the large-scale behavior of the crack front for several loading conditions.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Physical Society. Received 16 February 2011; revised manuscript received 15 June 2011; published 9 September 2011. We acknowledge Alain Steyer for technical support. The project was supported by a French ANR RiskNat SUPNAF grant, by a CNRS French-Norwegian PICS, and by the INSU CESSUR program. J.E.E. was supported by the Caltech Seismological Laboratory. K.J.M. was partly supported by a visiting grant from Strasbourg University.

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