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Published July 2015 | Published
Journal Article Open

Scaling Laws in the Ductile Fracture of Metallic Crystals


We explore whether the continuum scaling behavior of the fracture energy of metals extends down to the atomistic level. We use an embedded atom method (EAM) model of Ni, thus bypassing the need to model strain-gradient plasticity at the continuum level. The calculations are performed with a number of different 3D periodic size cells using standard molecular dynamics (MD) techniques. A void nucleus of a single vacancy is placed in each cell and the cell is then expanded through repeated NVT MD increments. For each displacement, we then determine which cell size has the lowest energy. The optimal cell size and energy bear a power-law relation to the opening displacement that is consistent with continuum estimates based on strain-gradient plasticity (Fokoua et al., 2014, "Optimal Scaling in Solids Undergoing Ductile Fracture by Void Sheet Formation," Arch. Ration. Mech. Anal. (in press); Fokoua et al., 2014, "Optimal Scaling Laws for Ductile Fracture Derived From Strain-Gradient Microplasticity," J. Mech. Phys. Solids, 62, pp. 295–311). The persistence of power-law scaling of the fracture energy down to the atomistic level is remarkable.

Additional Information

© 2015 by ASME. Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Applied Mechanics. Manuscript received January 1, 2015; final manuscript received March 29, 2015; published online June 3, 2015. MO gratefully acknowledges the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation through the Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) on Science at the Triple Point Between Mathematics, Mechanics, and Materials Science, Award No. 0967140.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023