Dynamic fields at the tip of sub-Rayleigh and supershear frictional rupture fronts

Ilya Svetlizky, Gabriele Albertini, Gil Cohen, David S. Kammer*, Jay Fineberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The onset of frictional motion at the interface between two distinct bodies in contact is characterized by the propagation of dynamic rupture fronts. We combine friction experiments and numerical simulations to study the properties of these frictional rupture fronts. We extend previous analysis of slow and sub-Rayleigh rupture fronts and show that strain fields and the evolution of real contact area in the tip vicinity of supershear ruptures are well described by analytical fracture-mechanics solutions. Fracture-mechanics theory further allows us to determine long sought-after interface properties, such as local fracture energy and frictional peak strength. Both properties are observed to be roughly independent of rupture speed and mode of propagation. However, our study also reveals discrepancies between measurements and analytical solutions that appear as the rupture speed approaches the longitudinal wave speed. Further comparison with dynamic simulations illustrates that, in the supershear propagation regime, transient and geometrical (finite sample thickness) effects cause smaller near-tip strain amplitudes than expected from the fracture-mechanics theory. By showing good quantitative agreement between experiments, simulations and theory over the entire range of possible rupture speeds, we demonstrate that frictional rupture fronts are classic dynamic cracks despite residual friction.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103826
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Fracture mechanics
  • Friction
  • Rupture fronts
  • Supershear


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