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On Compressive Brittle Fragmentation

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Dynamic brittle fragmentation is typically described using analytical and computational approaches for tensile stress‐states. However, most fragmentation applications (e.g., impact, blast) involve very large initial compressive stresses and deformations. In this study, the compressive fragmentation of brittle materials is investigated experimentally across a range of materials: silicon carbide, boron carbide, spinel, basalt and a stony meteorite. Analysis of our experimental results suggests that there exists two different regimes in the fragment size distributions, based on two brittle fragmentation mechanisms. The first is a mechanism that produces larger fragments and is associated with the structural failure of the sample being tested. This mechanism is influenced by the loading conditions (rate, stress state) and sample geometry. The second fragmentation mechanism produces comparatively smaller fragments and arises from the coalescence of fractures initiating and coalescence between defects in regions of large stresses and contact forces (e.g., between two fractured surfaces from the larger fragments). A framework is developed for comparing experimental compressive fragmentation results with tensile fragmentation theories. The compressive experimental results are shown to be adequately described by the theories using the new framework.
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Keywords: advanced ceramics; brittle failure; compressive fragmentation; experimental mechanics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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