Crack propagation driven by crystal growth
Physics of Geological Processes (PGP), University of Oslo - P.O. Box 1048, 0316 Oslo, Norway
2 Carbon Resource Management Department, Idaho National Laboratory - Idaho Falls, ID, USA
3 Institute for Energy Technology - Kjeller, Norway
Accepted: 2 September 2011
Crystals that grow in confinement may exert a force on their surroundings and thereby drive crack propagation in rocks and other materials. We describe a model of crystal growth in an idealized crack geometry in which the crystal growth and crack propagation are coupled through the stress in the surrounding bulk solid. Subcritical crack propagation takes place during a transient period, which may be very long, during which the crack velocity is limited by the kinetics of crack propagation. When the crack is sufficiently large, the crack velocity becomes limited by the kinetics of crystal growth. The duration of the subcritical regime is determined by two non-dimensional parameters, which relate the kinetics of crack propagation and crystal growth to the supersaturation of the fluid and the elastic properties of the surrounding material.
PACS: 46.50.+a – Fracture mechanics, fatigue and cracks / 62.20.mm – Fracture / 81.40.Np – Fatigue, corrosion fatigue, embrittlement, cracking, fracture, and failure
© EPLA, 2011