Fracture Mechanisms of Very Strong Solids

  • N. J. Petch
Conference paper
Part of the Materials Science Research book series (MSR, volume 5)


The use of high strength solids is limited by their brittleness. Superfically, many of them are completely brittle and their fracture is widely treated as a purely elastic process. This concept requires reexamination in terms of the relative ease of an atomic shear movement and of an atomic pulling-apart at a crack tip. Theoretical treatments of this problem are considered. Truly brittle fracture emerges as a process that is probably quite rare. The fracture of alumina is taken as a detailed example. Compositional, heat treatment and chemical environmental effects on fractures may arise from their influence on the critical shear stress.


Plastic Deformation Fracture Stress Plastic Zone Fracture Strength Minimum Strength 


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Discussion References

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    J. Congleton, N. J. Petch and S. A. Shiels, Phil. Mag., 19, 795–807 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    J. H. Westbrook, The Temperature Dependence of Hardness of Some Common Oxides, G. E. Research Report, No. 65-RL-4017 M., 1965, 17 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. J. Petch
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneEngland

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