Concurrent factors determine toughening in the hydraulic fracture of poroelastic composites

TitleConcurrent factors determine toughening in the hydraulic fracture of poroelastic composites
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLucantonio A, Noselli G
JournalMeccanica
VolumeIn press.
Keywordsbrittle layer, cohesive zone, fracture, hydraulic fracture, hydrogel, multiple-cracking, toughening
Abstract

Brittle materials fail catastrophically. In consequence of their limited flaw-tolerance, failure occurs by localized fracture and is typically a dynamic process. Recently, experiments on epithelial cell monolayers have revealed that this scenario can be significantly modified when the material susceptible to cracking is adhered to a hydrogel substrate. Thanks to the hydraulic coupling between the brittle layer and the poroelastic substrate, such a composite can develop a toughening mechanism that relies on the simultaneous growth of multiple cracks. Here, we study this remarkable behaviour by means of a detailed model, and explore how the material and loading parameters concur in determining the macro- scopic toughness of the system. By extending a previous study, our results show that rapid loading conveys material toughness by promoting distributed cracking. Moreover, our theoretical findings may suggest innovative architectures of flaw-insensitive materials with higher toughness. 

DOI10.1007/s11012-017-0621-5