Key role of elastic vortices in the initiation of intersonic shear cracks

Sergey G. Psakhie, Evgeny V. Shilko, Mikhail V. Popov, Valentin Leonidovich Popov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Using the particle-based method of movable cellular automata, we analyze the initiation and propagation of intersonic mode II cracks along a weak interface. We show that the stress concentration in front of the crack tip, which is believed to be the mechanism of acceleration of the crack beyond the speed of shear waves, is due to the formation of an elastic vortex. The vortex develops in front of the crack during the short initial period of crack propagation. It expands and moves away from the crack tip and finally detaches from it. Maximum stress concentration in the vortex is achieved at the moment of detachment of the vortex. The crack can accelerate towards the longitudinal wave speed if the magnitude of shear stresses in the elastic vortex reaches the material shear strength before vortex detachment. We have found that for given material parameters, the condition for the unstable accelerated crack propagation depends only on the ratio of the initial crack length to its width (e.g., due to surface roughness).

Original languageEnglish
Article number063302
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability

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