Theory of dynamic crack branching in brittle materials

E. Katzav*, M. Adda-Bedia, R. Arias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The problem of dynamic symmetric branching of a tensile crack propagating in a brittle material is studied within Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics theory. The Griffith energy criterion and the principle of local symmetry provide necessary conditions for the onset of dynamic branching instability and for the subsequent paths of the branches. The theory predicts a critical velocity for branching and a well defined shape described by a branching angle and a curvature of the side branches. The model rests on a scenario of crack branching based on reasonable assumptions and on exact dynamic results for the anti-plane branching problem. Our results reproduce within a simplified 2D continuum mechanics approach the main experimental features of the branching instability of fast cracks in brittle materials.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)245-271
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was supported by EEC PatForm Marie Curie action (E.K.), and by an international cooperation CNRS-Conicyt. Laboratoire de Physique Statistique is associated with Universities Paris VI and Paris VII.


  • Analytic functions
  • Crack branching and bifurcation
  • Dynamic fracture
  • Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics
  • Stress intensity factors


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