Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Conference paper

Crack dynamics in brittle fracture: An atomistic study

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It is commonly believed that cracks cannot move faster than the speed of sound on a solid surface known as the Rayleigh wave speed. However, earthquake measurement and, more recently, laboratory experiments give evidence to the contrary for shear dominated crack growth along weak planes in brittle solids. To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, we have performed molecular dynamics simulations of crack propagation along a weak interface joining two "strong" crystals. The microscopic features describing the nucleation and growth of the transonic crack are elucidated, including the hyperelastic stress field driving the failure mechanism. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.