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An experimental investigation of mode-I crack tip deformation


Washabaugh, Peter D. (1990) An experimental investigation of mode-I crack tip deformation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/wv0e-g535.


The out-of-plane displacement of amorphous polymethylmethacrylate plates rupturing at slow (0.1 mm/s), and fast (0.5 to 0.9 mm/µs) rates are measured using a Twymann-Green interferometer. The measured surface shapes within one plate thickness of the crack-tip do not compare well with the two-dimensional planar asymptotic approximation, but compare favorably with the published slopes for three-dimensional finite element solutions when normalized with the static material properties. Discrepancies, on the order of ten percent, between the magnitude of the three-dimensional finite element solutions suggest that the stress intensity factor does not fully characterize the near tip deformations.

A dynamically propagating crack is found to move in a non-steady, periodic, submicrosecond fashion. This result is supported both by the surface measurements and the fracture morphology. The material toughening, as measured by the surface roughness, correlates well with the stress intensity factor and not with the crack velocity. The details of the sub-microsecond propagation and toughening was not resolvable with the microsecond temporal resolution of the experiment.

Inhibiting the material toughening at the crack tip by artificially introducing a weak material plane augments the crack motion to velocities close to the material's shear wave speed. The crack propagates more steadily along the weak plane than through a virgin solid, while maintaining the character of the out-of-plane displacement of a crack propagating in an unsullied material.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Knauss, Wolfgang Gustav (advisor)
  • Rosakis, Ares J. (advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:28 November 1989
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11092007-101356
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4481
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:05 Dec 2007
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 23:27

Thesis Files

PDF (Washabaugh_pd_1990.pdf) - Final Version
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