Electrostrictive stresses near crack-like flaws

  • Robert M. McMeeking
Original Papers


Slit cracks in purely dielectric material systems do not perturb any applied uniform electric field. Furthermore, when the dielectric is unconstrained and does not support any conducting plates or mechanical loads, there are no additional mechanical stresses generated in the material upon introduction of the crack. This situation applies to both electrostrictive and piezoelectric materials. However, flaws which have finite thickness such as thin elliptical or ellipsoidal voids will cause severe inhomogeneous concentration of the electric field. In turn, this can generate substantial mechanical stress from electrostrictive or piezoelectric sources. The effect of an elliptical through flaw in an infinite isotropic body is considered. It is found that, in the case of thin ellipses, the near flaw tip mechanical stresses approximate the singular stresses near a slit crack with an equivalent stress intensity factor. In that sense, the flaw may be considered as a slit crack and treated in terms of linear elastic fracture mechanics. However, except for impermeable and conducting flaws, the value of the equivalent stress intensity factor depends on the aspect ratio of the flaw. As the aspect ratio of the flaw diminishes, the magnitude of the equivalent stress intensity factor falls and disappears in the limit of a slit crack. The results are used to show that a flaw-like crack in a material with a very high dielectric constant can be treated by fracture mechanics as an impermeable slit crack when the flaw aspect ratio is an order of magnitude greater than the ratio of dielectric permittivities (flaw value divided by the value for the surrounding material).


Aspect Ratio Stress Intensity Factor Dielectric Permittivity Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanic Uniform Electric Field 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. McMeeking
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept of Materials and Dept of Mechanical Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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