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Cracking a Tough Nut* with a big Computer

  • Farid F. Abraham (a1), D. Schneider, B. Land, D. Lifka, J. Skovira, J. Gerner and M. Rosenkrantzt (a2)...

Abstract

We have simulated the dynamical failure of three-dimensional notched solids under tension using molecular dynamics and up to 100 million atoms. We discovered a dynamical brittle-to-ductile transition in the rapid cleavage of rare-gas solids when the crack velocity approaches one-third of the Rayleigh sound speed. At this transition, the crack tip has already begun to roughen on the atomic scale. This suggests that the brittle crack undergoes a dynamic instability which immediately leads to the initiation of plastic failure by the spontaneous emission and proliferation of dislocations and crack arrest.

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*

NUT: nanocrystal under tension. We make note of P-G. de Gennes comment “…refrain from immediately resorting to a jackhammer to break open a hazelnut without first checking for an incipient crack on the surface of the shell.” in Fragile Objects (Copernicus, NY, 1996).

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References

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1. Kelly, A. and Macmillan, N. H., Strong Solids, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986, p. 10.
2. Rice, J. R. and Thomson, R., Phil. Mag. 29, 73 (1974).
3. Abraham, F. F., Brodbeck, D., Rafey, R. and Rudge, W. E., Phys. Rev. Lett., 73, 272 (1994).
4. Abraham, F. F., Brodbeck, D., Rudge, W. E. and Xu, X-P., J. Mech. Phys. Solids, to appear.
5. Abraham, F. F., Schneider, D., Land, B., Lifka, D., Skovira, J., Gerner, J., Rosenkrantz, M., to be published.
6. Lynden-Bell, R. M., Science, 263, 1704 (1994).
7. Klein, M. L. and Venables, J. A., Rare Gas Solids, Vol 1, Academic Press, London, 1976.
8. Feynman, R. P., Leighton, R. and Sands, M., The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, 1963, p. 12.
9. Abraham, F. F., Phys. Rev. Lett., 77, 869 (1996).
10. Plimpton, S., J. Comp. Phys. 117, 1 (1995).
11. Lawn, B., Hockey, B. and Wiederhorn, S., J. Mater. Sci., 15, 1207 (1980); Fig. 15a.

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