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Physics of sub-critical crack growth in a fibrous material: experiments and model

Pierre-Philippe Cortet
Loïc Vanel
Sergio Ciliberto
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We are interested in slow rupture processes observed when a material is submitted to a constant load below a critical rupture threshold. It is well known that the delay time (or lifetime) of the material before complete macroscopic rupture strongly depends on the applied stress. Thermodynamics has slowly emerged as a possible framework to describe delayed rupture of materials since early experiments have shown temperature dependence of lifetime with an Arrhenius law. On the other hand, efforts are made to describe slow rupture dynamics from rheological properties of the material such as viscoelasticity and plasticity. To shed light on this problem, it is important to compare experiments and models to distinguish between the different theoretical descriptions. For this purpose, we have studied experimentally the slow growth of a single crack in a fibrous material made of fax paper. Specifically, we have observed that the crack grows by steps of various sizes whose distribution is rather complex and evolves as a function of the crack length. In spite of this complexity, a statistical average of the growth dynamics reveals a very simple behaviour. We show that a model of thermally activated dynamics is able to reproduce many experimental observations. In particular, we show that the average dynamics is in good agreement with the experimental data. In addition, we find that the distribution of step sizes follows sub-critical point statistics with a power law and a stress-dependent exponential cut-off diverging at the critical rupture threshold. The exponent of the power law predicted by the model (3/2) seems to be slightly too large. Leaving the exponent as a free parameter gives a value 1.23+/-0.1. We stress that the material heterogeneity appears in the model only as a characteristic mesoscopic length scale. The fact that a simple model of thermally activated crack dynamics is able to reproduce with a good accuracy our experimental findings may open new perspectives in the description of slow rupture dynamics.
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ensl-00179850 , version 1 (16-10-2007)


  • HAL Id : ensl-00179850 , version 1


Stéphane Santucci, Pierre-Philippe Cortet, Loïc Vanel, Sergio Ciliberto. Physics of sub-critical crack growth in a fibrous material: experiments and model. 11th International Conference on Fracture, Mar 2005, Turin, Italy. ⟨ensl-00179850⟩
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