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A procedure is developed whereby slow crack growth can be analyzed, and predictions are made regarding the transition from stable to spontaneous fracture in solids which are not susceptible to the linear elastic fracture mechanics formalism. Emphasis is placed on discerning the limit modes of fracture: cleavage versus tearing. These two extremes of material behavior, a very brittle one and a very ductile one, are described as certain limiting cases resulting from a single mathematical model. Certain numerical examples involving microstructural parameters are given to illustrate the use of the newly introduced quantities in analysis and in data reduction pertaining to the early stages of fracture.
ductile and brittle fractures, stable and unstable crack extension, essential work of fracture, final stretch, process zone, growth step, energy separation rate, stability analysis, elastic-plastic fracture
The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis.