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Published October 1998 | public
Journal Article

Energy-based model of compressive splitting in heterogeneous brittle solids


Confined heterogeneous brittle solids loaded under far-field uniaxial compression are often observed to split along the loading axis. We develop a theory which accords this phenomenon an energetic interpretation : the solid splits because in so doing it reduces its total energy, defined as the sum of bulk strain energy and surface energy. The heterogeneous microstructure gives rise to a complex stress distribution in the intact solid. We show that the change in energy due to the release of the microstructural stresses may exceed the cost in fracture energy. Critical conditions for splitting are formulated for polycrystalline solids as a function of readily measurable material properties and applied stresses. The predictions of the theory are found to be in remarkably good agreement with experimental observations in ceramics and rocks.

Additional Information

© 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. Received 20 December 1997, in revised form 18 January 1998. We gratefully acknowledge the partial financial support of the following agencies. K.B. : AFOSR (F49620-95-1-0109) and NSF (CMS-9457573); M.O. : ARO (DAAH04-96-1-0056); G.R. : ARO (DAALO3-02-G-0192) and NSF (CMS-9157846).

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