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Fracture mechanics, quantum mechanics and fractal geometry applied to brittle materials

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How do brittle materials fracture? More importantly, how can we model the fracture process at all length scales? The answers to these questions have not been fully developed; thus, the entire description of the fracture process is not yet known. This presentation will outline one path to achieve the answers. There are characteristic features encoded on the fracture surfaces during the fracture process for all materials that fail in a brittle manner. The fracture surface contains quantitative information about the stress and energy associated with a specific fracture event. This presentation will review the important characteristics of the fracture process as shown on the fracture surface and discuss one approach to modeling the bond breaking process and subsequent crack propagation path that results in the fracture surfaces we observe. Fracture is a fractal process. Thus, we should be able to describe the entire fracture event from the atomic to the macroscopic length scales using relatively simple mathematical relationships. I will outline the approach to achieve an understanding of fracture on the atomic, nanometer, microscopic and macroscopic length scales using quantum mechanics, fracture mechanics, quantitative fracture surface analysis and fractal geometry.

This talk is part of the Physics and Chemistry of Solids Group series.

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