The interaction between a crack and a particle cluster

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A numerical method has been developed to study the interaction between a crack and second phase particles in a discontinuously reinforced composite material. The simulation is achieved using a 'dual' boundary integral method, coupled with a maximum energy release rate criterion for determining the direction of crack propagation. The method has been applied to a composite material composed of components having the elastic properties of Aluminium (matrix) and Silicon Carbide (reinforcement). In particular, the method is used to investigate the crack trajectory and energetics as it interacts with a single particle and with clusters consisting of two particles or a random distribution of ten particles. It is found that although the energy release rate is affected by the particle(s) at relatively large distances, the crack trajectory is not substantially altered until the crack is very close to the particle(s). A pre-existing interface flaw is observed to attract the crack and substantially increase the energy release rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-232
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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