Fracture spacing in tensile brittle layers adhering to a rigid substrate
Laboratoire FAST, Univ Paris Sud, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay - F-91405, Orsay, France
Received: 25 November 2016
Accepted: 23 February 2017
A natural question arising when observing crack networks in brittle layers such as, e.g., paints, muds, skins, pottery glazes, coatings, ceramics, is what determines the distance between cracks. This apparently simple question received a wealth of more or less complex and appropriate answers, but no consensus has emerged. Here, we show that the cracks interact mutually as soon as the spacing between them is smaller than ten times the thickness of the layer. Then, a simple Griffith-type balance between the elastic deformation energy and the fracture bulk and debonding costs captures a broad number of observations, going from the square-root or linear increase of the spacing with the thickness, to its decrease with loading until saturation. The adhesion strength is identified as playing a key role in these behaviour changes. As illustration, we show how the model can be applied to study the influence of the layer thickness on crack patterns. We believe that the versatility of the approach should permit wide applicability, from geosciences to engineering.
PACS: 46.50.+a – Fracture mechanics, fatigue and cracks / 62.20.M- – Structural failure of materials / 89.75.Kd – Patterns
© EPLA, 2017