Published May 21, 2019 | Version 1.0
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Anisotropy of the effective toughness of layered media

  • 1. ROR icon California Institute of Technology
  • 2. ROR icon University of Delaware
  • 3. ROR icon Louisiana State University


We use the variational phase-field model and the surfing boundary condition to propagate a crack macroscopically in various layered materials. We study two idealized situations, the first where the elastic modulus is uniform while the toughness alternates and a second where the toughness is uniform and elastic modulus alternates. We find that in the first case of toughness heterogeneity the effective toughness displays 'anomalous isotropy' in that it is independent of propagation direction and equal to that of the tougher material except when the crack propagation is parallel to the layers. In the second case of elastic heterogeneity, we find the behavior more anisotropic and consistent with the toughening effects of stress fluctuation and need for crack renucleation at the compliant to stiff interface. In both cases, the effective toughness is not convex in the sense of interfacial energy or Wulff shape reflecting the fact that crack propagation follows a critical path. Further, in both cases the crack path is not straight and consistent with a maximal dissipation principle. Finally, the effective toughness depends on the contrast and pinning, rather than the extent of crack fluctuation. The sources files of the performed simulations are provided.

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Related Publication: Anisotropy of the effective toughness of layered media Stella Brach California Institute of Technology Zubaer Hossain University of Delaware Blaise Bourdin Louisiana State University Kaushik Bhattacharya California Institute of Technology Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids eng

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