Wednesday, May 24

Atomic Effects in Brittle Fracture

8:45 AM-9:30 AM
Room: Liberty B&C
Chair: Weinan E, Princeton University and Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, USA

This talk will begin by discussing the science of fracture mechanics, and the types of questions it can and cannot answer. Many of the unsolved problems involve a combination of dynamic and atomic-scale effects. After showing how these problems appear in brittle amorphous materials, the speaker will focus on the fracture of ideally brittle crystals, an area in which a detailed understanding of fracture is emerging. Fracture of this type has a complete analytical solution in special limits. By observing how the analytical solutions scale, it is possible to design very efficient numerical systems that incorporate atomic information and are suited to comparison with experiment. Not only are solutions possible for subsonic cracks in initially homogeneous crystals, they are also possible for trans-sonic cracks, and for cracks along interfaces between different materials. Theoretical predictions can be tested experimentally in brittle crystals such as silicon. The confrontation of theory and experiment exposes interesting weaknesses in some conventional assumptions of solid state physics.

Michael P. Marder
Department of Physics and Center for Nonlinear Dynamics
The University of Texas, Austin, USA
©2000, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
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