, Volume 10, Issue 12, pp 2016-2024

Equilibrium penny-like cracks in indentation fracture

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A study is made of the mechanics of two basic types of indentation fracture, cone cracks (“blunt” indenters) and median cracks (“sharp” indenters). The common feature which forms the central theme in this work is that both crack types, in their well-developed stages of growth, may be regarded as essentially “penny-like”. On this basis a universal similarity relation is derived for equilibrium crack dimension as a function of indentation load. Experimental measurements confirm the general form of this relation. A more detailed fracture mechanics analysis is then given, to account for additional, contact variables evident in the data. Notwithstanding certain analytical limitations, the study serves as a useful basis for investigating a wide range of contact-related problems, both fundamental and applied, in brittle solids.