A brief historical and technical perspective precedes emphasizing the need to understand some of the fundamental characteristics of fracture. What the state of the art was two decades ago is no longer adequate in the era of modern technology. Observed mechanisms of failure at the atomic, microscopic, and macroscopic scale will continue to be elusive if the combined interaction of space/time/temperature interaction is not considered. The resolution of analysis, whether analytical or experimental or both, needs to be clearly identified with reference to local and global failure. Microdamage versus macrofracture is discussed in connection with the exchange of surface and volume energy, which is inherent in the material damage process. This gives rise to dilatation/distortion associated with cooling/heating at the prospective sites of failure initiation. Analytical predictions together with experimental results are presented for the compact tension and central crack specimens.
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