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Fracture and Friction: Rapid Dynamics of Material Failure


FractFrict is a comprehensive study of the space-time dynamics that lead to the failure of both bulk materials and frictionally bound interfaces. In these systems, failure is precipitated by rapidly moving singular fields at the tips of propagating cracks or crack-like fronts that cause material damage at microscopic scales. These generate damage that is macroscopically reflected as characteristic large-scale, modes of material failure. Thus, the structure of the fields that microscopically drive failure is critically important for an overall understanding of how macroscopic failure occurs.The innovative real-time measurements proposed here will provide fundamental understanding of the form of the singular fields, their modes of regularization and their relation to the resultant macroscopic modes of failure. Encompassing different classes of bulk materials and material interfaces.We aim to:[1] To establish a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of the near-tip singular fields, their regularization modes and how they couple to the macroscopic dynamics in both frictional motion and fracture.[2] To determine the types of singular failure processes in different classes of materials and interfaces (e.g. the brittle to ductile transition in amorphous materials, the role of fast fracture processes in frictional motion).[3] To establish local (microscopic) laws of friction/failure and how they evolve into their macroscopic counterparts[4]. To identify the existence and origins of crack instabilities in bulk and interface failureThe insights obtained in this research will enable us to manipulate and/or predict material failure modes. The results of this study will shed considerable new light on fundamental open questions in fields as diverse as material design, tribology and geophysics.

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