Data extracted from experimental testing of
The Classical Fracture Mechanics (CFM) quantifies velocity and energy dissipation of a crack growth in terms of the projected lengths and areas along the growth direction. However, in the fracture phenomenon, as in nature, geometrical forms are normally irregular and not easily characterized with regular forms of Euclidean geometry. As an example of this limitation, there is the problem of stable crack growth, characterized by the
Alternatively, fractal geometry is a powerful mathematical tool to describe irregular and complex geometric structures, such as fracture surfaces [5, 6]. It is well known from experimental observations that cracks and fracture surfaces are statistical fractal objects [7, 8, 9]. In this sense, knowing how to calculate their true lengths and areas allows a more realistic mathematical description of the fracture phenomenon . Also, the different geometric details contained in the fracture surface tell the history of the crack growth and the difficulties encountered during the fracture process . For this reason, it is reasonable to consider in an explicit manner the fractal properties of fracture surfaces, and many scientists have worked on the characterization of the topography of the fracture surface using the fractal dimension [12, 13]. At certain point, it became necessary to include the topology of the fracture surface into the equations of the Classical Fracture Mechanics theory [6, 8, 14]. This new “Fractal Fracture Mechanics” (FFM) follows the fundamental basis of the Classical Fracture Mechanics, with subtle modifications of its equations and considering the fractal aspects of the fracture surface with analytical expressions [15, 16].
The objective of this chapter is to include the fractal theory into the elastic and plastic energy released rates and , in a different way compared to other authors [8, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19]. The non-differentiability of the fractal functions is avoided by developing a differentiable analytic function for the rugged crack length . The proposed procedure changes the classical , which is linear with the fracture length, into a non-linear equation. Also, the same approach is extended and applied to the Eshelby-Rice non-linear
Finally, it is shown how the proposed model can contribute to a better understanding of certain aspects of the standard ASTM test .
2. Literature review of fractal fracture mechanics
2.1. Background of the fractal theory in fracture mechanics
Mandelbrot  was the first to point out that cracks and fracture surfaces could be described by fractal models. Mecholsky
Since the pioneering work of Mandelbrot
It is known that the roughness of the fracture surface is related to the difficulty in crack growth  and several authors attempted to relate the fractal dimension with the surface energy and fracture toughness. Mecholsky
Mu and Lung  suggested an alternative equation, a power law mathematical relation between the surface energy and the fractal dimension. It will be seen later in this chapter that both suggestions are complementary and are covered by the model proposed in this work.
2.2. The elasto-plastic fracture mechanics
There have been several proposals for including the fractal theory into de fracture mechanics in the last three decades. Williford  proposed a relationship between fractal geometric parameters and parameters measured in fatigue tests. Using Williford’s proposal Gong and Lai  developed one of the first mathematical relationships between the
Yavari  studied the
Recently, Alves  and Alves
3. Postulates of a fracture mechanics with irregularities
To adapt the CFM, starting from the smooth crack path equations to the rugged surface equations, and using the fractal geometry, it is necessary to establish in the form of postulates the assumptions that underlie the FFM and its correspondence with the CFM.
I. Admissible fracture surfaces
Consider a crack growing along the x-axis direction (Figure 1), deviating from the x-axis path by floating in y-direction. The trajectory of the crack is an admissible fractal if and only if it represents a single-valued function of the independent variable x.
II. Scale limits for a fractal equivalence of a crack
The irregularities of crack surfaces in contrast to mathematical fractals are finite. Therefore, the crack profiles can be assumed as fractals only in a limited scale . The lower limit is related to the micro-mechanics of the cracked material and the upper limit is a function of the geometric size of the body, crack length and other factors.
III. Energy equivalence between the rugged crack surface and its projection
In the energetic equivalence between rugged and projected crack surfaces it is considered that changes in the elastic strain energy introduced by a crack are the same for both rugged and projected paths,
where the subscript "" denotes quantities in the projected plane. Consequently, the surface energy expended to form rugged fracture surfaces or projected surfaces are also equivalent,
IV. Invariance of the equations
Consider a crack of length and the quantities that describe it. Assuming the existence of a geometric operation that transforms the real crack size to an apparent projected size , the length may be described in terms of by a fractal scaling equation, as presented in a previous chapter.
It is claimed that the classical equations of the fracture mechanics can be applied to both rugged and projected crack paths, i.e., they are invariant under a geometric transformation between the rugged and the projected paths. In the crack wrinkling operation (smooth to rough) it is desired to know what will be the form of the fracture mechanics equations for the rough path as a function of the projected length , and their behavior for different roughness degrees and observation scales.
V. Continuity of functions
It is considered that the scalar and vector functions that define the irregular surfaces are described by a model (as the fractal model) capable of providing analytical and differentiable functions in the vicinity of the generic coordinate points , so that it is possible to calculate the surface
VI. Transformations from the projected to rugged path equations
As a consequence of the previous two postulates, it can be shown using the chain rule that the relationship between the rates for projected and rugged paths are given by
This result is used to transform the equations from the rugged to the projected path.
4. Energies in linear elastic fracture mechanics for irregular media
The study of smooth, rough, fractal and non-fractal cracks in Fracture Mechanics requires the development of their respective equations of strain and surface energies.
4.1. The elastic strain energy UL for smooth, rugged and fractal cracks
Consider three identical plates of thickness , with Young’s modulus
where is the shape factor for the smooth crack. The accumulated elastic energy is
Thus, the elastic energy released by the introduction of a smooth crack with length is
For an elliptical crack the unloaded region can be considered almost elliptical and the shape factor is , thus
Analogously, the area of the unloaded elastic energy due to the introduction of a rugged crack of length is given by
where is a shape factor for the rugged crack. Thus, the elastic energy released by the introduction of a rugged crack with length is
Considering that the rugged crack is slightly larger than its projection, then
Consequently, the change of elastic strain energy from the point of view of the projected length can be expressed as:
4.2. A self-affine fractal model for a crack - LEFM
To take the roughness into account, it will be inserted in the CFM equations a self-affine fractal model developed in a previous chapter of this book.
4.2.1. The relationship between strain energies for rugged UL and projected UL0 cracks in terms of fractal geometry
The crack length of the self-affine fractal can be expressed as
where is the vertically projected crack length and the unloading fractal area of the elastic energy can be expressed as a function of the apparent length,
And results that
Therefore, the elastic energy released by the introduction of a crack length is
To understand the effect of crack roughness on the change of elastic strain energy, one may consider postulates III and IV, thus
It can be noticed that for , which corresponds to a smoother surface, the relationship between the strain energy and the projected length is more linear. While for , which corresponds to a rougher surface, this relationship is increasingly non-linear. This is reasonable since the more ruggedness, more elastic strain per unit of crack length.
4.2.2. Relationship between the applied stress on the rough and projected crack lengths
Then, from postulate III, i.e., the following relationship is valid only for the situation of free loading without crack growth.
Or, the rugged length can be written in terms of the projected length , thus
Since the elasticity modulus is independent of the crack path, one has
This last result is still incomplete since it is not valid for crack propagation. For its correction it will be considered that the elastic energy released rate can be expressed as a function of according to equation (4).
4.2.3. The surface energy Uγ0 for smooth, rugged and projected cracks in accordance with fractal geometry
The surface energy of a smooth and a rugged crack are, respectively, given by
Using equation (13), the surface energy of the projected length is given by
where . The surface energy equation (27) can be rewritten in terms of the projected length of a self-affine fractal crack
To see the influence of crack roughness on the surface energy, one may consider postulates III and IV, thus
5. Stable or quasi-static fracture mechanics to the rough path
In this section, a review of the conceptual changes introduced by Irwin (1957) in Griffith's theory (1920) is presented considering an irregular fracture surface, taking into account the postulates previously proposed. The purpose of this section is to use the mathematical formalism of Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics for stable growth of smooth cracks, generalizing it to the case of an irregular rough crack.
5.1. The Griffith energy balance in terms of fractal geometry
According to Griffith´s energy balance, one has
One can now add the contributions of and to reproduce Griffith´s energy balance in a fractal vision. In other words,
This new result is shown in Figure 3, which is analogous to the traditional Griffith energy balance graphs, but distorted due to the roughness of the fracture surface. Observe that for a reference total energy value the roughness of the crack surface tends to increase the critical size of the fracture compared to a material with a smooth fracture . This is due to the roughness being a result of the interaction of the crack with the microstructure of the material.
5.2. The modification of Irwin in Griffith´s energy balance theory for smooth, rugged and projected cracks
Irwin found from Griffith´s instability equation, given by (31), that this instability should take place by varying the crack length, so
which can be rewritten as
since is constant. On the left hand side of equation (36), is the amount of energy that remains available to increase crack extension by an amount . On the right hand side of equation (36), is the surface energy that must be released to form the rugged crack surfaces. This energy is the crack growth resistance.
Deriving equation (32) with respect to the projected crack length , one has
Considering postulate II, one can apply the derivation chain rule and obtain
Considering the following cases:
Irwin defined the elastic energy released rate and the fracture resistance in equation (36), like
These definitions can be extended to the terms in equation (37), so
Notice that the proposal made by Irwin extended the concept of specific energy to the concept of R-curve given by equation (44), allowing to consider situations where the microstructure of the material interacts with the crack tip. In this way, it is assumed that the surface energy is dependent on the direction of crack growth.
5.3. Comparative analysis between smooth, projected and rugged fracture quantities
Based on the results of the previous section, further analyses of the magnitudes of the Fracture Mechanics are performed in order to obtain a mathematical reformulation for an irregular or rugged Fracture Mechanics.
5.3.1. Relationship between the elastic energy released rate rates for smooth, projected and rugged cracks
Using the chain rule, it is possible to write in terms of ,
The energetics equivalence between the rugged surface and its projection establishes that the energy per unit length along the rugged path is equal to the energy per unit length along the projected path. Notice that
since , therefore,
The elastic energy released rates for the projected and rugged paths are, respectively
Combining these expressions and including, for comparison, the elastic energy released rate for a smooth path, one has for infinitesimal crack lengths,
Considering that the smooth crack length is equal to the projected crack length, one has
Observe that the difference between the elastic energy released rate for the smooth, rugged and projected cracks is the ruggedness added on crack during its growth. Using a thermodynamic model for the crack propagation, it can be concluded that a rugged crack dissipates more energy than a smooth crack propagating at the same speed.
The elastic energy released rate can be written in terms of a fractal geometry,
5.4. The crack growth resistance R for smooth, projected and rough paths
Considering a plane strain condition, crack growth resistance for a smooth crack is given by
Observe that if the fracture path is smooth, the specific surface energy is a cleavage surface energy and does not necessarily depend on the crack length. This model is only valid for brittle crystalline materials where the plastic strain at the crack tip does not absorb sufficient energy to cause dependence between fracture toughness and crack length.
Similarly, for a rugged crack, the fracture resistance to propagation is given by
The concept of fracture growth resistance for the projected surface is given by
Again, this model is valid for ideally brittle materials where there is almost no plastic strain at the crack tip. It basically corresponds to the model presented by Griffith, with a modified interpretation introduced by Irwin with the curve concept.
5.5. Relationship between rugged and projectedfracture resistances
Using the chain rule, and admitting Irwin´s energetic equivalence represented by equation (3), the projected fracture resistance can be written on the basis of the resistance of the real surface,
where is derived from equation (15),
5.6. Final remarks about equivalent quantities of smooth, rugged and projected fracture surfaces
It is important to emphasize that the energetic equivalence between the rugged surface crack path and its projection was considered such that the developed equations of the Fracture Mechanics for the flat plane path are still valid in the absence of any roughness.
However, if a flat and smooth fracture is considered with the same length of a projected fracture , the energetic quantities and their derivatives have the following relationship,
In postulate III it was assumed that the rugged crack path satisfies the same energetic conditions of the plan path, but in the LEFM this roughness is not taken into account, causing discrepancies between theory and experiments. For example, it has not been possible to explain by an analytical function in a definitive way the growth of the curve. The proposed introduction of the term allows correcting this problem.
6. The elastic-plastic fractal fracture mechanics
The non-linear elastic plastic energy released rate for a crack of plane projected path can be extended from the Irwin-Orowan approach. They introduced the specific energy of plastic strain on the elastic energy released rate to describe the fracture phenomenon with considerable plastic strain at the crack tip. Thus, it is possible to define the elastic plastic energy released rate in an analogous way to the definition of the elastic energy released rate,
where is the volumetric strain energy given by the sum of the elastic and plastic () contributions to the strain energy in the material.
6.1. Influence of ruggedness in elastic plastic solids with low ductility
Considering elastic plastic materials with low ductility where the effect of the plastic term is small compared to the elastic term, one can define a crack growth resistance as
where is a function that defines the testing condition. For plane stress , and for plane strain and is the fracture toughness resistance curve.
Due to the ruggedness, the crack grows an amount and correcting equation (59), one has
The energy balance proposed by Griffith-Irwin-Orowan, for stable fracture, is
Therefore, for plane stress or plane strain conditions, one can write from equation (61) that,
Knowing that fracture toughness is given by
From the Classical Fracture Mechanics, the fracture resistance for the loading mode I, is given by
where is a function that defines the shape of the specimen (CT, SEBN, etc) and the type of test (traction, flexion, etc), and is the fracture stress. Considering the case when , then and the fracture toughness for the loading mode I is given by
Therefore, from equation (74) the fracture toughness curve for the loading mode I is given by
Observe that according to the right hand side of equation (80), the ruggedness is determined by the condition of the test (plane strain or stress), the shape of the sample (CT, SEBN, etc), the type of test (traction, flexion, etc) and kind of material.
Considering the fracture surface as a fractal topology, one observes that the characteristics of the fracture surface listed above in equation (80) are all included in the ruggedness fractal exponent
which is non-linear in the crack extension . It corresponds to the classical equation (72) corrected for a rugged surface with Hurst's exponent
6.2. The Eshelby-Rice integral for rugged and plane projected crack paths
where is the incremental growth of the crack length. In the two-dimensional case, where the fracture surface is characterized by a crack with length and a unit thickness body, one has and
For a fixed boundary , , and the -integral for the plane projected crack path can be written only in terms of the boundary,
From postulate IV, the new
where the * symbol represents coordinates with respect to the rugged path. So, in an analogous way to the
Comparing (86) with equation (89) and considering that the rugged crack is a result of a transformation in the volume of the crack, analogous to the “
which show the equivalence between the volume elements,
Therefore, the ruggedness of the rugged crack path does not depend on the volume
where the infinitesimal increment accompanies the direction of the rugged path , as show in Figure 4. Thus,
Observe that the
It must be pointed out that this relationship is general and the introduction of the fractal approach to describe the ruggedness is just a particular way of modeling.
6.3. Fractal theory applied to J-R curve model for ductile materials
This section includes the formalism of fractal geometry in the EPFM to describe the roughness effects on the fracture mechanical properties of materials. For this purpose the classical expression of the elastic-plastic energy released rate was modified by introducing the fractality (roughness) of the cracked surface. With this procedure the classical expression (51) of LEFM, linear with the crack length, is changed into a non-linear equation (55), which reproduces with precision the quasi-static crack propagation process in ductile materials.
Observe that the quasi-static crack growth condition is obtained with Griffith fracture criterion, doing and . In this case, it is concluded that the
This model shows in unambiguous way how different morphologies (roughness) are correlated with the
Substituting the fractal crack model proposed in equation (62), one has
corroborating that the surface specific energy is related to the critical fracture resistance.
6.3.1. Case – 1. Ductile self-similar limit
The local self-similar limit can be calculated applying the condition in equation (81), obtaining
or, with , one has
This result corresponds to the one found by Mu and Lung [26, 37] for ductile materials. Equation (100) is shown in Figure 5, where
In Figure 6,
The self-similar limit of
In the case of ductile materials, the length of the work hardening zone affects an increasingly greater area of the material as the crack propagates, but the self-similar limit is still valid.
However, in the case of brittle materials (ceramics), after the initial stage of hardening, the crack maintains this state in a region of length , very short if compared to the crack length , generating a self-similar fractal structure only when the crack length is small, in the order of , i.e., . When the crack length becomes much larger than the initial size of the hardening region present at the onset of crack growth, the self-similar limit is not valid, and the self-affine (or global) limit of fracture becomes valid.
6.3.2. Case – 2. Brittle self-affine limit
It is easy verify that in stable crack growth, where , using equations (61) and (81), one has when . The global self-affine limit of can be calculated applying the condition when the observation scale corresponds to a rather small amplitude of the crack, similar in size to the crack increment, i.e., when in equation (81), resulting the linear elastic expression
This result corresponds to a classic one in Fracture Mechanics, which is the general case valid for brittle materials as glass and ceramics.
7. Experimental analyses
7.1. Ceramic, metallic and polyurethane samples
The analyzed ceramic samples were produced by Santos  and Mazzei . The raw material used for its production was an alumina powder A-1000SG by ALCOA with 99% purity. Specimens of dimensions were sintered at 1650 °
The analyzed metallic samples were multipass High Strength Low Alloy (HSLA) steel weld metals and standard DCT specimens. HSLA are divided in two groups based on the welding process utilized and the microstructural composition. The first group (
|Metals||A1CT2||516,00||1,34||291,60||0,48256||635,3313677||0,71 ± 0,01|
|A2SEB2||537,00||3,63||174,67||0,36264||573,1747828||0,77 ± 0,01|
|B1CT6||771,00||16,64||40,61||0,22634||650,1446157||0,77 ± 0,02|
|B2CT2||757,00||1,96||99,22||0,26553||691,3971955||0,58 ± 0,05|
|Polymers||PU0,5||40,70||0.8 ± 0.0||8,10||0,29951||39,47980593||0,47 ± 0,07|
|PU1,0||40,70||0.8 ± 0.0||3,00||0,23685||35,10799599||0,50 ± 0,05|
The analyzed polymeric samples are a two-component Polyurethane, consisting of 1:1 mixture of polyol and prepolymer. The polyol was synthesized from oil and the prepolymer from diphenyl methane diisocyanate (MDI). Their mechanical properties are shown in Table 1.
7.2. Fracture tests
A standard three-point bending test was performed on alumina specimens, SE(B), notched plane. Low speed and constant prescribed displacement 1
The fracture toughness evaluation of metallic samples was executed using the
To obtain the fractured surfaces of polymeric materials, fracture toughness tests were performed by multiple specimen technique using the concept of
7.3. Fractal analyses of fractured specimens
The fractured surfaces of ceramic samples were obtained with a Rank Taylor Hobson profilometer (Talysurf model 120) and an HP 6300 scanner. The fractal analyses to obtain the Hurst dimensions were made by methods, such as Counting Box, Sand Box and Fourier transform. The fracture surface analysis of metallic and polymeric samples were executed using scanning electronic microscopy SEM and the analyses to obtain the Hurst exponents were made with the Contrast Islands Fractal Analysis. Fractal dimension results are shown in the last column of Table 1.
7.4. G-R and J-R curve tests and fitting with self-similar and self-affine fractal models
A characteristic load-displacement result in the Alumina ceramic sample is shown in Figure 7. Observe that the stiffness of the material at the first deflection region is constant, corresponding to the elastic modulus of the material. However, as the crack propagates, the stiffness varies significantly.
J-R curves obtained from standard metallic specimens provided by ASTM standard testing are shown in Figure 9 along with the fitting with the proposed fractal models. Fitting results with these samples, named DCT1, DCT2 and DCT3, are a consistent validation of the applied fractal models. The fitting results of the self-similar and self-affine models coincide and are not distinguishable in Figure 9.
Typical testing results performed to obtain J-R curves of metallic weld materials are shown in Figure 10 and Figure 11. In all results, J-R curves measured experimentally were fitted using models given by equations (95) and (99), where the factor was obtained by adjusting the and values for each different sample, by the self-similar and the self-affine models.
After the experimental J-R curves were fitted using equation (81) and equation (99), values of , and were determined and are shown in Table 2 and Table 3. With , the value of the crack size was calculated and it corresponded to the specific surface energy. Using the experimental values of and given in Table 1, the values of the constants in the last column of Table 2 and Table 3 were calculated.
|Metals||A1CT2||283,247||0,417 ± 0,018||1,00944||0,459079||1,57411||445,862579|
|A2SEB2||187,639||0,208 ± 0,057||0,82912||0,396956||2,07868||390,042318|
|B1CT6||40,514||0,573 ± 0,038||0,51758||0,225086||1,89071||76,600193|
|B2CT2||101,204||0,592 ± 0,0041||0,64484||0,278764||1,68407||170,433782|
A good level of agreement is seen between measured Hurst’s exponents at Table 1 and theoretical ones shown in Table 2 and Table 3. Larger differences in metals can be attributed to the quality of the fractographic images, which did not present well defined “Contrast Islands”.
7.5. Complementary discussion
The proposed fractal scaling law (self-affine or self-similar) model is well suited for the elastic-plastic experimental results. However, the self-similar model in brittle materials appears to underestimate the values of specific surface energy and the minimum size of the microscopic fracture , although not affecting the value of the Hurst exponent .
For a self-affine natural fractal such as a crack, the self-similar limit approach is only valid at the beginning of the crack growth process , and the self-affine limit is valid for the rest of the process. It can be observed from the results that the ductile fracture is closer to self-similarity while the brittle fracture is closer to self-affinity.
Equation (81) represents a self-affine fractal model and demonstrates that apart from the coefficient , there is a certain "universality" or, more accurately, a certain "generality" in the J-R curves. This equation can be rewritten using a factor of universal scale, , as
which is a valid function for all experimental results shown in Figure 14. It shows the existent relation between the energetic and geometric components of the fracture resistance of the material. The greater the material energy consumption in the fracture, straining it plastically, the longer will be its geometric path and more rugged will be the crack.
In the self-similar limit , equation (99) is applicable and the energetic and geometric components are put in evidence in the equation below,
From equation (104), an expression can be derived which results in a constant value associated to each material,
It is possible to conclude that the macroscopic and microscopic terms on the left and right-hand sides of equation (105) are both equal to a constant, suggesting the existence of a fracture fractal property valid for the beginning of crack growth, and justified experimentally and theoretically. These constant values were calculated for each point in each
This new constant can be understood as a "fractal energy density" and it is a physical quantity that takes into account the ruggedness of the fracture surface and other physical properties. Its existence can explain the reason for different problems encountered when defining the value of fracture toughness . This constant can be used to complement the information yielded by the fracture toughness, which depends on several factors, such as the thickness of the specimen, the shape or size of the notch, etc. To solve this problem, ASTM E1737-96  establishes a value for the crack length (approximately and, , where is the width of the specimen) for obtaining the fracture toughness , in order to maintain the small-scale yielding zone.
As shown in equation (105), a relationship exists between the specific surface energy and the minimum crack size in the considered observation scale . In Figure 15, it can be observed that the consideration of a minimum size for the fracture on a grain should mean the effective specific energy of the fracture in this scale. In a similar way, the consideration of a minimum size of fracture in a different scale, like one that involves several polycrystalline grains etc.., should take into account the value of an effective specific energy in this other scale,
although and . So, the constant does not depend on the single rule of measurement used in the fractal model, but it depends on the kind of material used in the testing.
Another interpretation of equation (104) can be made by splitting the elastic and plastic terms,
For the particular situation where and , it can be derived from equation (99),
and from equation (74),
Therefore, using the fact that once the experimental value of is determined and the fitting of
Fracture Mechanics science was originally developed for the study of isotropic situations and homogeneous bodies.
At the microscopic level, the elastic material is modeled considering Einstein’s solid harmonic approximation where Hooke's law is employed for the force between the chemical bonds of the atoms or molecules . Therefore, the elastic theory is used to make linear approximations and it does not involve micro structural effects of the material.
At the mesoscopic level the equation of energy used for the fracture does not take into account effects at the atomic scale involving non-homogeneous situations . Based on the arguments of the last paragraphs, it becomes clear why Herrmman
At the macroscopic level, on the other hand, Griffith’s theory uses a thermodynamic energy balance. It is important to remember that the linear elastic theory of fracture developed by Irwin and Westergaard and the Griffith’s theory are differential theories for the macroscopic scale, which means they are punctual in their local limit. These two approaches involve the micro structural aspects of the fracture, since they take a larger infinitesimal local limit than the linear elastic theory at the atomic and mesoscopic scales. This infinitesimal macroscopic scale is big enough to include
In this chapter, Classical Fracture Mechanics was modified directly using fractal theory, without taking into account more basic formulations, such as the interaction force among particles, or Lamé’s energy equation in the mesoscopic scale as a form to include the ruggedness in the fracture processes.
The use of the fractality in the fracture surface to quantify the physical process of energy dissipation was approached with two different proposals. The first was given by Mu and Lung [26, 37], who proposed a phenomenological exponential relation between crack length and the elastic energy released rate in the following form
where is the length of the measurement rule. The second proposal was given by Mecholsky
where is a constant and is the stiffness modulus and is a parameter that has a unit length (an atomic characteristic length). The elastic energy released rate is then given by,
where is the critical energy released rate.
The authors cited above used the Slit Island Method in their measurements of the fractal dimension and it is important to emphasize that both proposals have plausible arguments, in spite of their mathematical differences. Observe that in the proposal of Mu and Lung [26, 37] the fractal dimension appears in the exponent of the scale factor, while in the proposal of Mecholsky
The mathematical expression proposed in this work, equation (95) and equation (99), for the case , is compatible with the two proposals above and can be seen as a unification of these two different approaches in a single mathematical expression. In other words, the two previous proposals are complementary views of the problem according to the expression deduced in this chapter.
A careful experimental interpretation must be done from results obtained in a
The plane strain is a mathematical condition that allows defining a physical quantity called , which doesn't depend on the thickness of the material. The measure of an average crack size along the thickness of the material, according to ASTM E1737-96 , is taken as an average of the crack size at a certain number of profiles along the thickness. In this way, any self-affine profile, among all the possible profiles that can be obtained in a fracture surface, are statistically equivalent to each other, and give a representative average for the Hurst exponent.
The crack height (corresponding to the opening crack test CTOD) follows a power law with the scales, and can be written as,
This relation shows that, while the measurement of the number of units of the crack length in the growth direction grows linearly, the number of units of the crack height units grows with a power of . If it is considered that the inverse of the number of crack increments in the growth direction is also a measure of strain of the material, as the crack grows, and considering that the number of crack height increments can be a measure of the amount of the piling up dislocation, in agreement with equation (113), then the normal stress is of the type [44, 45]
Observe that this relation shows a homogeneity in the scale of deformations, similar to the power law hardening equation . This shows that the fractal scaling of a rugged fracture surface is related to the power law of the hardening. It is possible that the fractality of the rugged fracture surface is a result of the accumulation of the pilled up dislocations in the hardening of the material before the crack growth.
In all three situations (metallic, polymer and ceramic) the presence of microvoids, or other microstructural defects, cooperate with the formation of ruggedness on the fracture surface. This ruggedness on the way it was modeled records the "history" of crack growth being responsible for the difficulty encountered by the crack to propagate, thus defining the crack growth resistance. In EPFM literature, the rising of
The success of fracture fractal modeling between the
The theory presented in this chapter introduces fractal geometry (to describe ruggedness) in the formalism of classical EPFM. The resulting model is consistent with the experimental results, showing that fractal geometry has much to contribute to the advance of this particular science.
It was shown that the rising of the
It is important to emphasize that the model proposed in this chapter illuminates the nature of the coefficients for the fitting proposed by the fractal model, which is the true influence of ruggedness in the rising of the
The method for obtaining the
It is well known that the fracture surfaces in general are multifractal objects  and the treatment presented here applies only to monofractals surfaces. However, for purposes of demonstrating the ruggedness influence on the phenomenology of Fracture Mechanics, through the models presented in this chapter, the obtained results were satisfactory. The generalization by multifractality is a matter to be discussed in future work.