, Volume 125, Issue 3-4, pp 335-348

Time-dependent crack behavior in an integrated structure

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Abstract

Devices in modern technologies often have complex architectures, dissimilar materials, and small features. Their long-term reliability relates to inelastic, time-dependent mechanical behavior of such structures. This paper analyzes a three-layer structure consisting of, from top to bottom, an elastic film, a power-law creep underlayer, and a rigid substrate. The layers are bonded. Initially, the film is subject to a uniform biaxial tensile stress. A channel crack is introduced in the elastic film. As the underlayer creeps, the stress field in the film relaxes in the crack wake, but intensifies around the crack tip. We formulate nonlinear diffusion-like equations that evolve the displacement field. When the crack is stationary, the region in which the stress field relaxes increases with time. We identify the length scale of the region as a function of time. The stress intensity factor is proportional to the square-root of the length scale. For the power-law creep underlayer, this newly identified length depends on the film stress, and corrects an error in a previous paper by Huang, Prévost and Suo (Acta Materialia 50, 4137, 2002). When the crack advances, its velocity can reach a steady state. We identify the scaling law for the steady velocity. An extended finite element method (X-FEM) is used to simultaneously evolve the creep strain and crack length. Numerical results are presented for the stress intensity factors of stationary cracks, and the steady velocities of advancing cracks.