Topological defects govern crack front motion and facet formation on broken surfaces

Itamar Kolvin, Gil Cohen, Jay Fineberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cracks develop intricate patterns on the surfaces that they create. As faceted fracture surfaces are commonly formed by slow tensile cracks in both crystalline and amorphous materials, facet formation and structure cannot reflect microscopic order. Although fracture mechanics predict that slow crack fronts should be straight and form mirror-like surfaces, facet-forming fronts propagate simultaneously within different planes separated by steps. Here we show that these steps are topological defects of crack fronts and that crack front separation into disconnected overlapping segments provides the condition for step stability. Real-time imaging of propagating crack fronts combined with surface measurements shows that crack dynamics are governed by localized steps that drift at a constant angle to the local front propagation direction while their increased dissipation couples to long-ranged elasticity to determine front shapes. We study how three-dimensional topology couples to two-dimensional fracture dynamics to provide a fundamental picture of how patterned surfaces are generated.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)140-144
Number of pages5
JournalNature Materials
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.

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