Materials Science

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 80–86 | Cite as

How fast can a crack go?

  • K. B. Broberg


The assumption of a material specific relation between the energy dissipation at the edge of a crack propagating under small scale yielding conditions leads to upper limits of the crack velocity: the Rayleigh wave velocity for modes I and II, and theS wave velocity for mode III. If a mode II crack can pass the “forbidden” subsonic super-Rayleigh region, then the upper limit would be theP wave velocity. Experiments invariably show lower maximum speeds, typically less than 60% of theS wave velocity, but they also frequently show accelerations to a constant velocity, depending on the acceleration history, and increasing surface roughness, even during the constant velocity phase. Other experiments show that the energy dissipation at the crack edge usually is several times larger at very high than at very low velocities. These results indicate a considerable growth of the process region, so much that the intrinsic length parameter which determines its height at very low crack speeds becomes insignificant, and then the rationale for a material specific relation between energy dissipation and velocity disappears. This disappearance can contribute to the explanation of the experimental results.


Stress Intensity Factor Energy Dissipation Wave Velocity Energy Flux Crack Edge 
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

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  • K. B. Broberg

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