Breakdown of linear elastic fracture mechanics near the tip of a rapid crack

Ariel Livne*, Eran Bouchbinder, Jay Fineberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


We present high resolution measurements of the displacement and strain fields near the tip of a dynamic (mode I) crack. The experiments are performed on polyacrylamide gels, brittle elastomers whose fracture dynamics mirror those of typical brittle amorphous materials. Over a wide range of propagation velocities (0.2-0.8cs), we compare linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) to the measured near-tip fields. We find that, sufficiently near the tip, the measured stress intensity factor appears to be nonunique, the crack tip significantly deviates from its predicted parabolic form, and the strains ahead of the tip are more singular than the r-1/2 divergence predicted by LEFM. These results show how LEFM breaks down as the crack tip is approached.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number264301
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number26
StatePublished - 22 Dec 2008


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