An analysis of competing toughening mechanisms in layered and particulate solids

TitleAn analysis of competing toughening mechanisms in layered and particulate solids
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNoselli G, Deshpande VS, Fleck NA
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Keywordscrack resistance curves, multi-layered composites, particulate solids, toughening mechanisms

The relative potency of common toughening mechanisms is explored for layered solids and particulate solids, with an emphasis on crack multiplication and plasticity. First, the enhancement in toughness due to a parallel array of cracks in an elastic solid is explored, and the stability of co-operative cracking is quantified. Second, the degree of synergistic toughening is determined for combined crack penetration and crack kinking at the tip of a macroscopic, mode I crack; specifically, the asymptotic problem of self-similar crack advance (penetration mode) versus 90° symmetric kinking is considered for an isotropic, homogeneous solid with weak interfaces. Each interface is treated as a cohesive zone of finite strength and toughness. Third, the degree of toughening associated with crack multiplication is assessed for a particulate solid comprising isotropic elastic grains of hexagonal shape, bonded by cohesive zones of finite strength and toughness. The study concludes with the prediction of R-curves for a mode I crack in a multi-layer stack of elastic and elastic–plastic solids. A detailed comparison of the potency of the above mechanisms and their practical application are given. In broad terms, crack tip kinking can be highly potent, whereas multiple cracking is difficult to activate under quasi-static conditions. Plastic dissipation can give a significant toughening in multi-layers especially at the nanoscale.