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Crack-Tip Shielding by Swelling in Silica Proved from Measurement of Crack-Terminating Angles in DCDC-Tests


Cracks terminating at free surfaces are affected by local stresses in the surface region. Under residual compression, the crack front must retard, whereas residual tensile stresses lead to an advance, both compared with the crack contour in the absence of stresses. This effect can be used for an estimation of residual surface stresses in silica generated during the silica/water reaction and caused by volume swelling. A strong shielding stress intensity factor of about –2.5 MPa√m was found for Double Cleavage Drilled Compression specimens heat-treated for 192 h at 250°C in water vapour under saturation pressure and in liquid water. This result is a clear indication for compressive stresses developing in the water diffusion zone at the surface.

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Hettich, P., Schell, K.G., Bucharsky, E.C. et al. Crack-Tip Shielding by Swelling in Silica Proved from Measurement of Crack-Terminating Angles in DCDC-Tests. Glass Phys Chem 48, 30–34 (2022).

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  • residual surface stresses
  • shielding stress intensity
  • crack-terminating angles