Europhys. Lett.
Volume 48, Number 3, November 1999
Page(s) 280 - 285
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 September 2002
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i1999-00478-8

Europhys. Lett, 48 (3), pp. 280-285 (1999)

An analysis of disorder in thin silicon oxide coatings

U. A. Handge 1, Y. Leterrier 2, J.-A. E. Månson 2, I. M. Sokolov 1
and A. Blumen 1

1 Theoretical Polymer Physics, University of Freiburg - Hermann-Herder-Str. 3
D-79104 Freiburg i.Br., Germany
2 Laboratoire de Technologie des Composites et Polymères (LTC)
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) - CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

(received 20 May 1999; accepted 7 September 1999)

PACS. 62.20Mk - Fatigue, brittleness, fracture, and cracks.
PACS. 61.43${\rm -j}$ - Disordered solids.
PACS. 81.40Np - Fatigue, corrosion fatigue, embrittlement, cracking, fracture and failure.


We analyze theoretically and experimentally the influence of disorder in thin brittle coatings on their fragmentation kinetics. It turns out that in linear bond-network models the mean fragment length $\langle L\rangle$ scales with the applied strain $\epsilon$, i.e. $\langle L\rangle\propto \epsilon^{-\alpha}$, with $\alpha$depending on the degree of disorder in the coating. Experimentally we monitor the fragmentation of thin silicon oxide coatings. The analysis of the fragmentation kinetics reveals that $\langle L\rangle\propto \epsilon^{-\alpha}$ is well fulfilled and that $\alpha$ ranges from 1/3 to 1/2, being in very good agreement with the theory.


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