Europhys. Lett.
Volume 74, Number 4, May 2006
Page(s) 595 - 601
Section General
Published online 12 April 2006
Europhys. Lett., 74 (4), pp. 595-601 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10575-2

Subcritical crack growth in fibrous materials

S. Santucci1, P.-P. Cortet1, S. Deschanel1, 2, L. Vanel1 and S. Ciliberto1

1  Laboratoire de Physique, CNRS UMR 5672, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon 46 allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
2  GEMPPM, INSA de Lyon - 20 Av. Albert Einstein, 69621 Villeurbanne Cedex, France

received 24 June 2005; accepted in final form 21 March 2006
published online 12 April 2006

We present experiments on the slow growth of a single crack in a fax paper sheet submitted to a constant force F. We find that statistically averaged crack growth curves can be described by only two parameters: the mean rupture time $\tau$ and a characteristic growth length $\zeta$. We propose a model based on a thermally activated rupture process that takes into account the microstructure of cellulose fibers. The model is able to reproduce the shape of the growth curve, the dependence of $\zeta$ on F as well as the effect of temperature on the rupture time $\tau$. We find that the length scale at which rupture occurs in this model is consistently close to the diameter of cellulose microfibrils.

05.70.Ln - Non-equilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics.
62.20.Mk - Fatigue, brittleness, fracture, and cracks.

© EDP Sciences 2006