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DOI 10.1007/s10704-015-0058-6

Wolfgang G. Knauss

Received: 30 July 2015 / Accepted: 20 November 2015 / Published online: 28 December 2015

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Abstract This review is written in honor of Max L. polymers has often, if not usually, minimized the time

Williams who not only started this International Jour- dependence, only cursory attention is paid to these, in

nal of Fracture (the author’s Ph.D. advisor. Originally spite of the fact that they constitute a very important

the Journal was called International Journal of Fracture class of materials in the modern engineering commu-

Mechanics) but who had a seminally fundamental influ- nity. From an engineering perspective this review is

ence on the course of fracture mechanics in general, and motivated also by an exposition of a persistent lack of

specifically as applied to the time dependent failure of knowledge concerning time dependent fracture issues.

elastomers/polymers. In view of that background this Most of the work attached to the notion of viscoelastic

article reviews developments over more than 50 years, fracture is—intentionally or by omission—associated

as colored by my own experiences in regard to this with the phenomenon of crack growth under steady

topic. It seems appropriate to include a historical state conditions with the expectation that this under-

perspective that starts during pre-journal times and standing leads implicitly to resolution of problems gov-

addresses the need for understanding time dependent erned by transient loadings. Besides reviewing the his-

processes governing fracture in rate sensitive materials. torical evolution of the knowledge in this field over the

To the largest extent, the rate dependence is important past half century, it is a main purpose of this paper to

where polymers are involved, though under more lim- offer information that has either been ignored or has not

ited conditions metals and igneous solids as well as lig- been explored (this includes the work of the author), but

neous ones exhibit time dependent fracture characteris- which contradicts this “popular” perception. It is thus

tics. Such facts notwithstanding, the major discussion an intentionally large part of this presentation which

in this contribution is devoted here to the time depen- documents compelling motivation for addressing frac-

dent fracture of polymeric materials, and elastomeric ture aspects, that are generally important from an engi-

ones in particular. The emphasis will be thus on time neering design and analysis point-of-view: specifically,

dependent issues governed primarily by the fracture it is intended to illustrate the remarkable degree by

processes in elastomeric solids, which have evolved which the steady state solution to crack propagation

largely in parallel to problems devoted to the more rigid deviates from experimental information when transient

polymers. Because consideration of fracture of the rigid conditions prevail, and the large range of time scales

over which this failure behavior is observed.

W. G. Knauss (B)

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,

Keywords Viscoelasticity · Fracture ·

CA 91125, USA Time-dependent fracture · Polymer fracture ·

e-mail: wgk@caltech.edu Elastomer fracture

123

100 W. G. Knauss

1 Perspective

studying fracture of viscoelastic materials was the

founder of this Journal, Max L. Williams, whose 1957

demonstration of the universality of the square-root sin-

gularity in linearized fracture mechanics contributed a

major building block to the development and practical

implementation of fracture mechanics in engineering

designs. Moreover, his demonstration of the more com-

plicated singularity at the front of a disbond between

dissimilar materials (Williams 1959), followed by the

contribution of England (1965), has played a seminal

role in the study of adhesion mechanics during the

1980’s and 90’s, Fracture mechanics in the 1950’s was

in its late infancy, if measured by, say, the early contri-

bution of Irwin (1957, 1958), and his summary in the

Handbuch der Physik (1958), though conference dis-

cussions were provided through various professional Fig. 1 Cross sectional view of photoelastically identified

societies, notably the ASME. The earliest conferences stresses in a “star-configured solid rocket motor grain

devoted specifically to fracture topics were, (a) the

first international conference—that I am aware of- was ation the burning surface remains nearly constant so as

held “ …on the atomic mechanisms of fracture”, in to provide a similarly constant pressure for propulsion.

Swampscott, Massachusetts, 1959 (April 12–16), and The body of the motor charge is typically a cylindri-

(b) followed in 1962 by the conference in Maple Valley, cal configuration, called the grain, encased in a stiff

Washington, at which conference M.L.Williams (1963) case, usually fabricated of marageing steel, but later

presented the first model for time dependent fracture of also of fiber-composite materials. The propellant is a

a viscoelastic solid, expanded in an inaugural paper in mixture of granular oxidizer, bonded together by a car-

the first volume of this Journal in 1965. bon rich rubber in a 70–85 wt% of solids, mostly gran-

The motivation for the current presentation, as well ular ammonium perchlorate and additives for burning

as, on a larger scale, a recount of the earliest driver rate control. Because the grain is cast before the rubber

in the US for understanding time dependent fracture, is cross linked and cures subsequently in the stiff case,

emanated from the solid rocket fuel industry—funded the associated shrinkage of the material causes stresses,

by the US government—to develop the capability to which are augmented by the thermal cool-down during

design reliable tactical (land based and aircraft deliv- and after cure. These stresses are typically highest at

ered) and strategic weapons (long-range intercontinen- the valleys of the star shaped cross section and at the

tal missiles) for (cold-war) defense purposes. The pri- ends of the grain (in the axial direction) which is nor-

mary issue for the safe and reliable designs of solid mally bonded to the much stiffer case along all of its

rocket motors was the prevention of crack develop- length. At issue were then the estimation of the time

ment and propagation in the propellant charge, because when a crack was likely to start (crack initiation) and

the generation of unintended burning area would result of the probable speed with which the crack would/could

in a disastrous increase in pressure that provides the grow during the pre-firing storage as well as during the

propulsive force. The appearance of one or more cracks pressurization associated with launch and operation.

typically led to a pressure instability resulting in “mal- The crack initiation was typically addressed through

functioning”. the prescription of a critical strain (sometimes a criti-

For reference or historical purposes the critical areas cal stress) established empirically, rather than in terms

in a solid propellant rocket motor are illustrated in of a crack based fracture criterion, though “Ansätze”

Fig. 1. The star shaped cross-section is designed such for this purpose have been proposed (Knauss 1963,

that as the propellant surface burns away during oper- 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1973a, b, c; Mueller 1968;

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 101

Mueller and Knauss 1971a, b; Schapery 1975a, b, c), hardly provide viscoelastic properties. Independent of

as discussed in detail below, but strain-based crite- this work in the US, a long lasting effort under the guid-

ria have been maintained essentially to today. On the ance of Zhurkov (1960, 1972), Zhurkov et al. (1969) in

other hand, the propagation behavior of existing cracks the (then) Soviet Union studied the failure processes at

has been developed more extensively, though, strictly the molecular level through examination of the genera-

speaking, primarily for linearly viscoelastic materi- tion of chemical bond ruptures as traced by the spin res-

als as also delineated below. Because solid propellant onance method, and failure was typically assumed to be

fuels are typically highly nonlinear when large strains characterizable via uniaxial tensile data. This method

are involved, mostly ad hoc modifications were intro- of study did not follow the classical methods of frac-

duced, but the fact remains that the linearly viscoelastic ture mechanics, but was more typical of the attempts

model(s) were and continue to serve at this time as the to characterize strength as practiced in the physics and

basis for efforts in this direction. chemistry environment. While this type of study does

One might wish to make the point that in cases not address the more macroscopic aspects of the crack

involving highly nonlinear metal behavior in the form propagation phenomenon, it is of interest in establish-

of plasticity one has also drawn heavily on the results of ing the molecular basis for the failing material at the

linear fracture mechanics and that a similar path might front of the crack, which motivated the group around

have been followed for nonlinearly viscoelastic behav- M.L. Williams (Williams and DeVries 1969) at the Uni-

ior. The major difference was/is that plasticity had been versity of Utah, as well as coworkers (DeVries et al.

investigated for decades and was, relatively speaking, 1971a, b, c) in that direction. Much of this work was

well understood. The same was/is not true for non- motivated by the desire to better understand the failure

linear behavior of viscoelastic materials such as solid of rigid polymers, though investigation by this group

propellant rocket fuels—as well as rigid and rubbery included studies on elastomer failure, also.

polymers—, and the status of describing nonlinearly Although the sequel will not address in detail the

viscoelastic behavior is not even today nearly compa- fracture of polymers in their glassy state it should be

rable to that where plasticity is concerned.1 mentioned in this brief review that considerable effort

While a major driver for exploring the fracture has been expended on the fracture controlling process

behavior for viscoelastic materials in the US was the of “crazing” in uncrosslinked polymers. Crazes form a

defense and space programs of the 1950s, 60’s and 70’s, critical component in the fracture process. Dominant

though not exclusively so,2 the main motivation for among these investigations were those by Kambour

polymer fracture in, e.g., Europe derived from the ever (1970) and Kambour and Robertson (1972), Cessna

increasing industrial use of high polymers in engineer- and Sternstein (1965, 1967), Sternstein et al. (1968)

ing designs. The author’s early developments under and Kramer (e.g., see Kramer and Hart 1984), who

NASA sponsorship as instigated by M.L. Williams performed significant studies that should form the basis

addressed a reaction rate model to crack propagation of a well formulated fracture criterion for these types

which was driven by the elastically stored energy in the of materials, though at the present time, efforts in

global sample which remained after the dissipation had that direction seem to have stalled. Moreover, exten-

been converted into (low-temperature) heat during the sive studies of crack initiation and propagation behav-

deformation (Knauss 1963). Halpin (1964) and Halpin ior in glassy polymers with the attendant phenomena

and Polley (1967) developed a model similar to that involving crazing were presented by J.G. Williams

documented by M.L. Williams (1963) except that the and collaborators at the Imperial College of London,3

cohesive forces were modeled as molecules and not namely Isherwood and Williams (1970), Ferguson et al.

as viscoelastic—if simple—material elements, regard- (1973), Williams and Marshall (1974a, b, 1975), Mar-

less of the fact that isolated molecules in extension can shall et al. (1973). Parvin and Williams (1976) and Mai

and Williams (1977).

1 For this reason a very substantial effort had been devoted in Various aspects of related studies have been doc-

our laboratory to understanding nonlinearly viscoelastic polymer

behavior in the last 2–3 decades.

umented in worthwhile monographs. The earliest of

2 NASA has maintained a long standing interest and support for

fracture investigations and substantially supported much of the 3 The references cited here are symptomatic of these studies,

writer’ early fracture studies. rather than totally encompassing.

123

102 W. G. Knauss

these by E.H. Andrews (1968) is heavily oriented Griffith’s results, but erred in the choice of the geom-

towards the work by the early research at the British etry so as to arrive at the same functional relation but

Rubber Producers’ Research Association, all emanat- not with the same proportionality factor. The newer

ing from the work of Rivlin and Thomas (1953); view of crack tip localized mechanics was advanced

however, its presentation ended essentially in a time very significantly by M.L. Williams who, after studying

frame before significant progress in understanding the the stresses around sharp corner in plates (1951, 1952)

mechanics aspects of viscoelastic fracture had been demonstrated the universality of the square root singu-

understood to enter into his summary. A significant por- lar stress field at crack tips (1956), and Irwin (1957)

tion of it is devoted to displaying the role of molecular dealt with the localization of the fracture in the form of

conformations as part of a mechanics oriented frac- the singular stress field derived from the Griffith geom-

ture description of rubbers. On the other hand, dealing etry. Further contributions to the local theory of frac-

more with glassy, and mostly uncrosslinked polymers, ture were advanced by Bueckner (1958) and by Sanders

the monograph by J.G. Williams (1984) is principally (1960) who gave the localization argument in the form

oriented towards the needs of the practicing engineer, of a path-independent integral around the crack tip later

though anchored in the mechanics of fracture as gov- exploited by Rice (see, e.g. Rice 1971). It was left to

erned by the role of crazes and the related concepts of the multiple publications of Barenblatt (1956, 1959a, b,

plasticity effects. The 1985-book by his student A.J. 1962) who was familiar with the work of Irwin and of

Kinloch—together with R.J. Young—follows a simi- Bueckner, to re-introduce the cohesive forces argument

lar vein, though it includes more detail related to the advanced by Prandtl (1933) to elucidate the signif-

role of the molecular structure, but mostly with regard icance of the cohesive forces at the crack tip, which

to structural (rigid) polymers of the thermoplastic type was applied by Dugdale (1960) in terms of the perfect

and without extensive discussion on the role of vis- plasticity model for a steel sheet containing a slit.

coelasticity in these processes. Finally, the exegesis by Attempts to follow the global fracture criterion to

H.-H. Kausch (1987) devotes more discussion to the describe crack propagation (tear criterion) had led

microscopic and submicroscopic aspects of polymer to the extensive development in Great Britain under

behavior and its influence on the failure process from Rivlin (see Rivlin and Thomas 1953) then working

the viewpoint of the polymer physicist. It includes an at the British Rubber Producers Research Association,

extensive collection of data in this regard that might whose basic fracture ideas were carried on by Thomas

be characterized as an instructive guide to the forensic and collaborators (see, e.g., Greensmith and Thomas

analyst of polymer failures, but without extensive expo- 1955; Greensmith 1956, 1963, 1964; Greensmith et al.

sition of time dependent or viscoelastic aspects of the 1960 and Lake and Thomas 1967). These develop-

crack propagation process as discussed in the present ments produced the concept of a rate dependent tear

paper. energy5 which was also found to be temperature depen-

dent in virtually the same manner as basic viscoelastic

mechanical properties typically described today by the

2 Fracture models Williams–Landel–Ferry (WLF) description.6 On the

other hand, in attempting to duplicate the Griffith con-

Two views of describing fracture processes have cept for linearly viscoelastic materials—considerably

evolved over the years: The original (linearly elastic) later—Nuismer (1974) arrived at the conclusion that

treatment by Griffith (1921, 1924) has become known only the short term or glassy viscoelastic properties

as the global approach, which is based on the balance of dominated the development. This result was the conse-

stored energy in a whole structure, a portion of which

is required to generate new surface. An alternative con- 5 The term “tear energy” derived from the test configuration of

cept, namely that the work done by the unloading trac- the “trouser-leg” specimen typically used.

6 Today it is becoming increasingly accepted that this time–

tions at the tip of an advancing crack is offset directly by

the energy required to form new surface was advanced temperature reduction scheme has its origin in the work of Vogel

(1921), Fulcher (1925) and Tammann and Hesse (1926) who

first by Prandtl (1933)4 who attempted to duplicate addressed the temperature dependence of the viscosity of oily

liquids, of Silicate-glass melts and of a variety of supercooled

4 For the author’s translation into English see this reference, also. liquids, respectively.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 103

quence of the classical singularity being involved with- relaxation or creep and that, therefore, the fracture

out a finitely sized cohesive zone, and, of necessity, evaluations based on it can always be fitted to data.

demanded infinite deformation rates at the crack tip, However, it has been experienced that the correlation

which then naturally engendered the glassy response between experiment and the powerlaw representation

characteristics. In the wake of earlier publications on suffered from the lack of certainty as to what part of

this topic (see below) this turned out to be an indication the relaxation spectrum was associated with the rele-

that the elimination of the singularity in the crack prop- vant velocity range of measured crack speed data. This

agation process is essential for viscoelastic materials; fact has not been recognized widely. An additional set

this requirement was fulfilled through the introduction of papers on crack propagation in linearly viscoelastic

of a cohesive zone (Prandtl 1933), which introduces a solids was offered by McCartney (1977, 1978, 1979)

non-dimensionalization similar to that provided by the which turned out, however to contain, essentially, more

Reynolds number in viscous flow (Knauss and Mueller limited or special cases of (Knauss 1973b) as pointed

1975a, b). out in documented discussions (Knauss 1979,9 1980).

A publication following the work of Barenblatt A review of this type would not be complete with-

(1956, 1959a, b, 1962), and disadvantaged somewhat out at least mentioning the contributions of A.N. Gent,

by lack of communication during the “cold war”, was whose polymer–physics based analyses, married with

offered by Kostrov and Nikitin (1970) which applied extensive laboratory data and its macroscopic interpre-

the local fracture criterion for crack propagation to a tations, has provided an especially useful link between

(linearly) viscoelastic solid. In the same time frame the solid mechanics and the molecular mechanics

and independently, Knauss (1969, 1970) and Mueller fields. Gent started his scientific career at the British

and Knauss (1971a, b)7 developed essentially the same Rubber Producers’ Research association before receiv-

model for steady crack propagation in linearly vis- ing his Ph.D from the University of London collaborat-

coelastic materials based on the cohesive zone model ing there with R.S. Rivlin (Gent and Rivlin 1952a, b, c)

(constant zone size), and corroborated the same well and Gent and Thomas (1958). His contributions to the

by crack propagation data derived from tests on a field of polymer and adhesive strength are too numer-

polyurethane material. The same model was applied to ous and far reaching to be analyzed here, (see e.g. Gent

the unsteady growth of cracks in the classical Griffith and Lai 1994; Gent et al. 1994; Gent 1996), much of it

geometry by Knauss (1970), similarly well supported addressing adhesion issues with viscoelastic adherends

by experimental results.8 A slight improvement in the and/or bonding agents. However, his often singular way

agreement between test data and theory for constant of looking at a problem has often been very success-

rates of crack propagation was accomplished through ful. It will suffice to present at least one example of

the introduction of a cohesive zone size that varies with his unique way of thinking (Gent 1996), but we shall

the amplitude of the stress intensity factor (Knauss defer discussion of that occurrence to Sect. 7.3 below

1973b, c). These developments will be delineated in in connection with the discussion of modeling steady

more detail below. Essentially the same model was sub- state crack propagation in elastomers.

sequently reported by Schapery in a sequence of papers,

which appeared in this Journal (Schapery 1975a, b, c),

except that Schapery approximated the material char- 3 More recent contributions

acteristics by a viscoeastic powerlaw representation, an

assumption that was not necessary in (Knauss 1973b). To inquire into more recent experimental or analyt-

The numerous publications were necessitated, in part, ical contributions on this topic, a web-based search

by justifying the model in terms of this powerlaw engine revealed several recent analysis-oriented pub-

approximation. Schapery points out that the power- lications (Greenwood and Johnson 1981; Greenwood

law representation is always valid for a part of the 2004; Persson and Brener 2005; Carbone and Persson

2005), apparently offered from the physics community

7 See also: Mueller (1968). with minimal recognition of the large data base repre-

8 A review of the status of viscoelastic fracture mechanics at that

time is summarized in (Knauss 1973a), along with an up-date in 9 For reading continuity note that the journal printer inter-

1986. changed two pages (R228 and R229).

123

104 W. G. Knauss

sented through the engineering related references listed sible via standard laboratory equipment to the chemists

here. Some of these results reproduce work of half and physicists who dominated the mechanical behav-

a century ago, but only Greenwood’s work is based ior field of polymers at that time. A major achieve-

on data derived from a collaboration on de-cohesion ment was the realization that such data followed the

processes with K.L. Johnson (Greenwood and Johnson same time–temperature reduction scheme that applied

1981). It is surprising, however, in this particular work, to the time–temperature dependent mechanical relax-

that the viscoelastic fracture model is based on the stan- ation and creep properties (Smith 1958). In the search

dard linear solid which offers only a single relaxation for a universal failure criterion as exemplified in uniax-

time, a representation we have found, over the years, ial tension tests Smith (1964) then attempted to elim-

to be inadequate for realistic material representation inate the effect of deformation history—and thus any

which typically requires at least ten relaxation times in time history—from such failure data by proposing a

its spectrum or more. Thus the results in (Greenwood failure envelope. This concept revolves around a pre-

2004) which extend the data over 8 decades of veloc- sentation of the uniaxial tensile failure data in a plot

ity is somewhat mysterious. The publications by Pers- of failure-stress versus failure-strain, in which neither

son and collaborators, do not contain comparisons with temperature nor history (e.g. strain rate) appeared as a

experimental fracture data. It is of interest to remark parameter, thus insinuating a history-independent sum-

on the assertion by Carbone and Persson (2005) that mary of failure behavior. It turned out, however, that

the high deformation rates at the crack tip give rise to this concept was easily upset by demonstrating that it

tremendous temperature rises, on the order of 1000 ◦ C did not apply to data gathered from dual-strain rate his-

For a limited discussion of this point see Sect. 7.2, in tories (e.g. a fast–slow sequence) if the sequence of the

connection with this topic on thermal crack tip effects. order of the high and of the low rate was interchanged

The major observation, which we derive from the (Knauss 1965) or if the material is stressed biaxially

review of publications to date, is, that all cited studies instead of uniaxially (Knauss 1967).

deal primarily with the steady state propagation of a As mentioned above, a mechanics-oriented exam-

crack, and deviations from that situation are given mini- ination of fracture behavior was initiated by Rivlin

mal if any attention. It is thus—apparently—commonly who at that time worked at the British Rubber Pro-

assumed that the steady state description applies instan- ducers Research Association in the UK by suggesting

taneously. It is for this reason that an extensive expo- the tear or fracture characterization in terms of a rate-

sition of the problems associated with the transient– dependent tear or fracture energy. The determination of

velocity behavior of cracks is included here as being this quantity hinged on test geometries for which the

strongly affected by specific material behavior. More- work done or energy stored per unit of crack advance

over, there is a marked absence of experimental data could be unambiguously and easily determined. The

on crack propagation behavior for elastomeric solids, configurations were primarily the tear specimen10 and

at least much less so than for the more rigid polymers. the “pure-shear” configurations shown in Fig. 2a,b.

Because studies of fracture in rigid polymers are typi- Because the configuration in Fig. 2b had the higher

cally not associated with viscoelastic phenomena, but chance of being amenable to a stresses analysis near

are seen usually in the frame work of elasto-plastic the crack tip through a two-dimensional (linearized)

behavior, we do not extend this review to that field but elasticity formulation it became the preferred tool in

restrict our presentation here to their most relevant cita- our laboratory to study crack propagation in viscoelas-

tions addressing viscoelastic elastomer fracture. tic materials. A third configuration in Fig. 2c evolved

later at the same British laboratories.

The crack propagation data acquired at the Laborato-

4 A brief review of the experimental crack ries of the (British) Natural Rubber Producers Research

propagation data available and developed Association provided the earliest indication that the

by the early 1970’s

10 M.L. Williams coined the “trouser-leg” terminology for the

configuration in Fig. 2a inasmuch as the leg-bottoms were being

In the 1950s the failure of viscoelastic solids, and in par- pulled apart in opposite directions while the “crutch” underwent

ticular elastomeric ones, was typically characterized in tear or fracture. The detailed stress analysis of the crack tip region

terms of uniaxial tension tests, which was readily acces- was, however, worse than formidable in those days.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 105

to propagate a crack was temporarily reduced but the

crack then accelerated again. Although this phenom-

enon is most readily associated with the strain-induced

anisotropy of the natural rubber component in any

F

elastomer, the studies at the Natural Rubber Produc-

(b) ers’ Research Association found essentially the same

behavior for non-crystallizing elastomers of the GRS

and Butadiene–Styrene variety, to produce what has

become known as “stick-slip” and as “knotty” tearing.

The physical data generated over many years at the

laboratories of that Association provides some of the

most extensive repertoire of crack propagation data,

(c) F still today, even though it is limited to essentially char-

acterizing fracture in terms of a global, rather than

crack-tip local phenomenon even into the start of this

century (Tsunoda et al. 2000).

Upon evaluating these early results we have empha-

sized in our laboratory the description of fracture as a

crack-tip local phenomenon and established a data bank

F

on crack propagation behavior together with the rele-

Fig. 2 Specimen configurations to study the conversion of stored vant mechanical, viscoelastic behavior that ultimately

energy into fracture energy in elastomers. a Tear specimen. allowed addressing crack propagation behavior to be

b “Pure shear” specimen. c “Split tear” specimen described in the mechanics sense originally offered, in

principle, by Prandtl (1933), and by Barenblatt specif-

ically for brittle solids (1959a, 1959b, 1962). Because

fracture process was governed by the same mechanical

this local approach involves tracking the viscoelastic

constitutive properties typically characterizing defor-

deformations in the vicinity of the crack tip as a func-

mation problems in mechanics. Much of the effort there

tion of the crack speed it was necessary to carefully

was devoted to the constant-strain-rate characteriza-

determine the requisite mechanical properties. In con-

tion of the material, because the tear specimen alluded

nection with this publication we have (unsuccessfully)

to the extensional properties of the material. How-

searched the open literature for a comparative set of

ever, following T.L. Smith’s finding (1958) that uniax-

measurements. To understand this assessment, it must

ial tensile failure data could be reduced by the “WLF

be mentioned that in our laboratory great care was

shift process”, the researchers at the British Rubber

exercised in generating reproducible data so as to cir-

Producers’ Research Association11 demonstrated that

cumvent potential “stray” data that might cast doubt

the time–temperature shift principle correlated the tear

on the valid comparison of theoretical considerations

rate-dependence by the same rule, which also applied

and experimental data. Because the only viable analy-

to the reduction of classically (linearly) viscoelastic

sis tool available at the time—and this is largely still the

mechanical properties and thereby established for the

case today inasmuch relatively little is know about how

first time that fracture processes in elastomers are

to describe large deformation viscoelasticity—was the

essentially governed by the same mechanical prop-

linearly viscoelastic theory, a polyurethane material

erties applicable in typical boundary value problems.

was used as a demonstration material, which exhib-

The studies at that laboratory also demonstrated cer-

ited relatively low strain capability and crack prop-

tain instability issues in tear propagation: in a certain

agation under relatively low loads and strains, so as

11

to make the possible corroboration of laboratory data

Because of the politically changing landscape in the far east

regions of the natural rubber plantations the name of the organi-

with a theory based on linear viscoelasticity more likely

zation changed from “British” to “Natural” Rubber Producers’ to be productive. The material of choice was a pho-

Research Association early in the 1960s. toelastically sensitive Polyurethane elastomer, called

123

106 W. G. Knauss

Solithane 113.12 This material, originally developed reason for the variation observed in the magnitude of

for its photoelastic characteristics in connection with the fracture energy.13 From an historical perspective it

solid rocket motor stress analysis (see Fig. 1), was may be of interest to note that all of Schapery’s pub-

explored for the specific purpose to study strength char- lications on viscoelastic crack propagation (Schapery

acteristics under an Air Force funded research program 1975a, b, c) were based on comparisons with the crack

with the intention to allow various laboratories to share propagation and mechanical properties data derived in

mechanical viscoelastic properties data so as to facili- our laboratories for this particular material and result-

tate research interaction by reducing the cost of acquir- ing from this elaborate characterization evolution.

ing mechanical properties. The material was generated Details depending on the fracture data are best

in our laboratory in a specially designed facility under reserved for later when the comparison of measure-

stringent moisture and temperature control and sub- ments with the analysis are discussed. At this point it

jected to an extensive test program to identify its repro- is useful to record in Fig. 3 only the compliance data,

ducibility and minimal property variations (Knauss and which is shown for all sheets employed in the crack

Mueller 1967). Nevertheless, it turned out that some propagation measurements used in (Knauss 1973b), to

properties, specifically the long-term energy of frac- illustrate the point made in the previous paragraph, even

ture, which emerged as an important fracture parame- though the subsequent fracture analysis is illustrated

ter, varied apparently, and primarily due to ageing of with more limited data derived from only two sheets.

the material, while the viscoelastic constitutive proper- The reader is encouraged to review the papers by the

ties remained much more stable. Because fracture data author in the references list (e.g. 1973b). These data

accumulated over a time frame of months indicated that resulted from test data at various temperatures shown

while the relaxation (or creep) behavior of the com- in that figure; the trade-off relation (time–temperature

pound was rather stable, the variation of the intrinsic shift data) between the retardation time spectrum and

fracture energy (for definition see the later text) could the temperature is displayed in Fig. 4.

vary substantially (Mueller and Knauss 1971a). For A literature search for a comparable data evolv-

this reason the determination of the physical proper- ing since the late 1960 did not appear to produce

ties were extended over a 1-year long ageing period. any significantly new experimental results, so that

Moreover, to provide an assessment of the material the most successful descriptions of viscoelastic frac-

variability introduced in the manufacture of the sheet ture, based on the theory of linear viscoelasticity,

material used for fracture test specimen, ultimately five namely the author’s contributions and the later work

sheets were separately produced for fracture tests, of by Schapery (1975a, b, c) relied exclusively on the

which only two provided indistinguishable creep com- measurements from our laboratories described below.

pliances, with a total time spread in that data varying Indeed, Schapery’s results in (1975c, Figs. 1, 4) employ

about 1/3 of a decade, or, alternatively, a maximal factor the data identical to those in Knauss (1970, 1969),

of nearly 1.8 in the magnitude of the creep compliance but with a disparity between measured and calculated

in the transition region. This uncertainty in the proper- data in his Fig. 1 that is greater than that in the earlier

ties of the non-fracture data is, most likely, the major presentation by Knauss (1970, 1969). Apart from the

surprising lack of more extensive time dependent vis-

12 This material was manufactured by the Thiokol Chemical coelastic fracture data—excepting Alan Gent’s numer-

Corporation as a two-component system—useful for photoelas-

tic stress analysis purposes—consisting of the so-called Urethane

ous contributions, and the 2000 publication by Tsun-

Resin (Thiokol Solithane 113 Urethane Resin) and the Catalyst oda et al., which was still based on the global energy

(Thiokol Urethane Resin Catalyst). The Resin is a trifunctional analysis spearheaded by Rivlin and Thomas (1953)—

isocyanate, resulting from a reaction between Castor Oil and the internet-based literature search did, however, find

Toluenediisocyanate (TDI). The addition of the Catalyst pro-

vides the crosslinking of the Resin, and cure proceeds at ele-

more recent theoretical contributions to the fracture

vated temperature. Different mix ratios provide elastomers of behavior of viscoelastic materials, which will be dis-

varying physical properties. The work reported here is based cussed chronologically below.

on the equal volume mixture, usually referred to as the 50/50

composition. Casting against polished Aluminum mold surfaces

at 60 ◦ C, the cure proceeded at 165 ◦ C to produce transparent 13 Note that, as seen later, the intrinsic fracture energy is a

sheets of 12 × 12 of desired thicknesses (Knauss and Mueller property deduced analytically from test data, which deduction

1967). involves the creep compliance.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 107

Solithane 113 [Although the

mix-ratio of the two

component polyurethane

system allowed the

production of wide range of

physical properties (Knauss

1976) all fracture related

results presented here are

associated with the

equivoluminal composition

designate by (50/50)]

(50/50) from five different

production batches. Batch

numbers 1 and 5 rendered

the same trace within

plotting accuracy

phenomena. It may not be possible to review even

the majority of such investigations, but it would

seem incomplete to totally ignore this aspect of poly-

mer fracture, since under certain high rate deforma-

tion processes (e.g. explosive environments) the elas-

tomeric material may respond very similarly as the

(crosslinked) glassy polymers (see Sect. 8.6). How-

ever, in most if not all of these investigations the time-

dependent issues are not at the forefront, though the

result of long-term exposure to elevated loads is always

present as a durability issue. Major contributors to

investigations of the nature and role of crazing as it

ultimately affects the character of crack propagation

are: Berry (1960, 1962, 1964), Bueche and Halpin

(1964), Kambour (1970) and Kambour and Robertson

(1972), Lauterwasser and Kramer (1979) and Kramer

and Hart (1984), Sternstein (see, e.g. Cessna and Stern-

stein 1965, 1967; Sternstein et al. 1968)) and, last but

not least, J.G. Williams (Ferguson et al. 1973; Mar-

shall et al. 1970, 1973, 1974; Williams and Marshall

Fig. 4 Time–temperature shift factor for Solithane 113 (50/50 1974a, b, 1975; Mai and Williams 1977). A crack-layer

composition) for data in Fig. 3. Also included are data related to concept for crack propagation in plastics has been pro-

crack propagation discussed later posed by Chudnowsky and co-workers, that minimizes

the detailed structure of the craze zone and its evolution

Compared to the fracture data documenting crack under various load histories (see, e.g. Chudnovsky et al.

propagation in elastomers there is a sizeable exper- 1983; Botsis et al. 1987a, b; Kadota and Chudnovsky

imental data base related to fracture in glassy— 1992; Gregory and Botsis 1991; Kim et al. 1993). Also,

123

108 W. G. Knauss

Bhattacharya 1985; Lu et al. 1988; Wang and Brown

1989) on the same topics as discussed by Chudnowsky

and collaborators is of interest in this context. As men-

tioned before, possibly excepting the work by Brown,

the time-dependence of the fracture process has played

a secondary role in the investigations for these material.

For this reason the sequel will not consider this particu-

lar topic in detail except for the following few remarks:

These considerations of fracture in thermoplastic mate-

rials have, however, in common with the fracture of

elastomers that both fields involve the necessary exis-

Fig. 5 Result of material break-down at the crack tip through

tence of a cohesive zone at the tip of a crack, though the microscopic damage at the crack tip

detailed nature of the cohesive force evolution has dif-

ferent micro-mechanical sources and processes, even if

both material zones originate in the formation of vac- sive action at the crack tip in brittle materials. In many

uoles or voiding under the influence of the high stresses polymers the disintegration of the continuum into a

at crack tips. discontinuous form is associated with a local defect

growth at a very small scale so that cohesive zones

develop across which forces act in a transient manner

5 Analysis of crack propagation in (linearly) and the work done against this disintegrating molecu-

viscoelastic solids lar/microscopic structure is then associated with what

is generally termed the fracture energy, and which rep-

Let us consider briefly the main difference between resents then one of the energy sinks involved in the

the “global” fracture considerations as implemented for fracture process. The stress sustained during this pas-

linearly elastic solids by Griffith (1921, 1924), and by sage from the continuum of the fractured material by

the “local” criterion initiated by Prandtl (1933). Recall way of such void growth is indicated qualitatively in

that the global model is based on the energy balance Fig. 5.

of a full sized elastic structure containing a crack and The additional energy sink for a viscoelastic mate-

tracing the changes of the total energy content vis à vis rial is the energy dissipated in the rate (crack veloc-

the energy required to form new surface, this balance ity) dependent deformation field surrounding the crack

is achieved readily because there are (presumably) no tip. We believe that it was a major merit of the early,

other competing energy losses in the crack propagation mechanics-based papers on viscoelastic crack propaga-

process. In a viscoelastic material—as in the case of tion by Knauss (1969, 1970) and Mueller and Knauss

plasticity—this situation clearly does not apply because (1971b) to demonstrate—in contrast to the assump-

any crack motion generates energy dissipation other tions underlying the work at the Natural Rubber Pro-

than that required to produce new fracture surface. For ducers’ Research Association—that this separation of

this reason consideration of the details at the crack tip the energy losses could be achieved—mathematically

are necessary to account for the various energy loss in product form—through a rate-independent fracture

mechanisms in detail. energy, later referred to as the intrinsic fracture energy,

A fundamental part of the local failure process is and that the rate dependence of any measured fracture

the transition of the highly stressed continuum into the energy could be allocated to a dissipation factor result-

separated (cracked) form. Along with Griffith (1921, ing from the deformation field surrounding the moving

1924), Prandtl (1933) considered this to occur in a crack tip.

clean atomically configured cleavage without the need During crack propagation all deformations are here

to specify alternative processes. Similarly, Barenblatt assumed symmetric with respect to the crack axis.

(1956, 1959a, b, 1962) developed the concept of “equi- Although a finite material element near the crack tip—

librium cracks” along similar lines of thinking by mak- cf. Figure 6a—experiences a stress state more complex

ing essentially atomic forces responsible for the cohe- than the uniaxial one, it suffices for the present purposes

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 109

the crack flanks would remain open. However, if we

choose to eliminate the cohesive material while retain-

ing the forces which it exerts on the upper and lower

segments of the crack tip, we arrive tentatively at a

boundary which is straight in the undeformed state. The

surface of the boundary is traction free over that por-

tion representing the crack surface (X < 0 in Fig. 6e),

an adjacent section of which (0 ≤ x < α in Fig. 6e)

carries prescribed tractions representing the cohesive

forces. The remainder (x ≥ α in Fig. 6e) is restrained

from motion normal to the crack axis, which represents

the uncut and “undamaged” portion of the solid.

It should be stated explicitly that this approximate

version of the physical situation, namely the elimina-

tion of the cohesive material as such implies that the

possible interaction between the crack tip near mater-

ial and the cohesive (“voided”) material is eliminated, a

proposition that is not uniformly applicable to all poly-

meric solids. For example, it its believed that in the case

of crack propagation in materials generating crazed

zones such an approximation may not be valid since

in that case a major contribution of the time depen-

dent crack growth response may be governed by the

Fig. 6 The role of the disintegrating material at the moving crack

tip in providing temporary cohesive forces time dependent behavior of the crazing material. On

the other hand, the replacement of the cohesive material

by tractions that do not depend on the damaged mate-

to consider the element in this simple stress state; the rial response does not preclude these tractions from

reason for this simplification will be understood along depending on the rate of crack propagation. Moreover,

with later and additional assumptions. As this material this simplification is synonymous with the assumption

element is approached by the advancing crack tip, it that fracture occurs, essentially, only through the frac-

develops microscopic voids as discussed above. In the ture of (chemical) bonds, regardless of the details of

process of passing from an undamaged state ahead of the microscopic disintegration process.

the crack through the crack-tip region to a “mechan- We next simplify the distribution of the cohesive

ically disintegrated state”, the element has provided forces further to a bilinear distribution, as shown in

cohesive stresses which, as in Fig. 5, pass through a Fig. 6e, leaving the magnitude of σ0 and the lengths

maximum and then drop to zero on the crack surfaces. α and β arbitrary. In contrast to usual practice for the

The corresponding stress distribution holding the crack fracture of rate-independent material, where, usually,

tip together is shown qualitatively in Fig. 6b, but it may β = 0, the linear portion of this distribution 0 ≤ x ≥ β

differ considerably with respect to detail. is retained for two reasons. First, the extra parameter

The material providing these cohesive stresses spans β may be used to investigate whether the change in

the crack axis over a possibly thin layer, as shown by stress distribution, resulting from a variation in β, is

the dots in Fig. 6c, although this region would pos- of any consequence for the crack-propagation behav-

sess rather diffuse boundaries. In the formulation of ior, or whether the latter is insensitive to such simple

the viscoelastic-boundary-value problem for a mov- variations. Second, it seems reasonable from a physi-

ing crack tip, we would have to choose a boundary cal viewpoint that the stress distribution should be at

of the type shown in Fig. 6d, for which the dotted least continuous for a continuously moving crack tip.

region (viewed here as indentations into the two half- Moreover, the occurrence of step functions, such as

spaces) moves to the right; the question of how one afforded by a distribution for which β = 0 engen-

123

110 W. G. Knauss

the theory of viscoelasticity which is circumvented by

allowing β to be finite. The case of a constant cohesive

stress may be obtained ultimately by letting β → 0, if

desired.

Let us summarize the important points of this sec-

tion. We have deduced from qualitative experimental

observations a physical model of material deterioration

at the tip of a moving crack. The de-cohering material

provides the traction boundary conditions for a simply Fig. 7 Crack-tip domain

posed boundary-value problem which is amenable to

an exact solution within the realm of linear viscoelas-

We call the second criterion, a statement of the (crack

ticity theory. Implicit in the formulation of this sim-

tip-local) law of conservation of energy, the “energy cri-

plified boundary-value problem is the assumption that

terion”. In view of the assumptions on the effect of the

the time dependence of the crack-propagation process

cohesive material in the previous Section, one demands

is derived primarily from the bulk solid surrounding

that the work done against the cohesive forces be a con-

the moving crack tip and not from the possible rate

stant, i.e., independent of the velocity of crack propa-

sensitivity of the disintegrating material. This assump-

gation.

tion needs to be checked experimentally (see below).

To give these criteria substance, we first state the

Finally, we see at this point no a priori limitation of

boundary-value problem which is to simulate the prop-

the crack-propagation model to thin sheets, but argue,

agating crack and then state the maximum strain (crack-

subject to experimental verification, that the physical

opening) and energy criteria. These statements con-

processes described can occur at crack tips in both thick

nect the (steady) crack-propagation velocity with the

and thin sections without being identical.

applied far-field stresses inducing the crack propaga-

tion.

Consider, then, the tip of a crack in a region R of

5.1 Criteria for crack propagation

a plane possessing isotropic and linearly viscoelastic

properties as shown in Fig. 7, with tractions T A on

The previous section presented an outline of a phys-

the boundary A of the region producing deformations

ical process leading to crack propagation. We retain

which are symmetric with respect to the crack axis. In

in this model only the average stresses exerted by the

a two-dimensional reference frame X , y, affixed to the

decomposing material for the purpose of satisfying the

crack tip moving to the right with velocity ȧ, let τx y ,

equilibrium of the quasi-static stress field; since the

σ X and σ y be, respectively, the shear stress and normal

details of the material decomposition process are not

components of the stress tensor, and let u x and u y be the

included one must supplant the latter by an additional

displacement components in the X - and y-directions.

hypothesis. This hypothesis is referred to as a criterion

For reasons of symmetry in loading and geometry, the

of fracture or of crack propagation. Consider here two

shear traction vanishes on y = 0. In accordance with

such criteria.

the developments of the last section and with reference

We call the first criterion the “maximum strain cri-

to Fig. 6e, the remaining boundary conditions are pre-

terion”. This criterion assumes that the disintegrating

scribed as

material loses cohesiveness at a finite strain indicated ⎧

⎨0 X ≤0

as εm in Fig. 5. Since we have allowed the weakened σ

σ y (X, 0) = β0 X 0 < X ≤ β

material to occupy a vanishingly thin layer or line along ⎩

σ0 β<X ≤α

the crack axis, it is consistent with this approximation to

require as an equivalent criterion that the crack-opening u y (X, 0, ȧ) = 0X > α (1)

displacement be a specified value at the point where the The question whether σ0 , α, and β are material con-

cohesive forces decay to zero, i.e., at X = 0 in Fig. 6e. stants or not remains open; the answer will be dis-

Moreover, we assume that this strain or displacement cussed in connection with the evaluation of the two

be a constant, i.e., independent of the crack-tip velocity. criteria via the experimental evidence. The velocity ȧ

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 111

is supposed to be so small that neither inertial effects provided one includes in the consideration only that

nor crack-tip heating due to viscous energy dissipation part of the crack surface X ≤ 0 which is free of trac-

are deemed important (see further discussion on this tions. Now remove the lower half of the region R and

topic in Sect. 7.2). The question that now motivates us replace it by the equipollent traction Tn (cf. Fig. 7b)

further is: How are the tractions T A in Fig. 7 related which it exerts on the upper half. Then apply the first

quantitatively to the crack-tip velocity ȧ. law of thermodynamics to this (half) body and note that

it is only a body in equilibrium under surface tractions

5.1.1 Crack opening displacement or ultimate, all around without any semblance of a crack. There-

constant strain criterion fore, the surface energy does not now play a role, but

one identifies a term representing the work done on the

Suppose that the displacement at the crack tip is always half-body over the surface AC as shown in Fig. 7b. By

constrained by taking into account the directions of the traction and

displacement vectors, one obtains

u y (0, 0, ȧ) = u 0 (2)

1 1

with u 0 an as yet unknown constant, i.e., independent Q̇ + Ȧ − Tn (X ) · u̇ y (X, 0, ȧ) d X = Ḋ+ Ẇ

2 2

of the applied loads and independent of the crack-tip AC

velocity. To evaluate this criterion it is necessary to (5)

determine the crack surface displacement u y normal to

the crack axis as a function of the traction applied to Upon comparing Eqs. 4 and 5 and recalling Eq. 1, one

R and as a function of the crack-tip velocity ȧ. One finds for any instant

then needs to examine whether experimental evidence

permits a coordination of these tractions with the crack- Tn (X ) · u̇ y (X, 0, ȧ) d X = Ṡ (6)

tip velocity ȧ when u y (0, 0, ȧ) remains a constant.

AC

5.1.2 Energy criterion If the energy required to form a unit of new surface

is independent of the loading and of the rate of crack

For rate-insensitive solids Prandtl (1933)—see also

growth, then Ṡ = ȧ where is a constant called

Barenblatt (1956, 1959a, b, 1962)—has shown how the

the intrinsic fracture energy. Having already chosen the

unloading tractions at the crack tip do work, which

traction Tn (X ) in accordance with Fig. 6e, one needs

is equal to the surface-energy requirement postulated

to determine the displacement profile of the “crack sur-

by Griffith. The question now arises whether a similar

face” in the cohesion zone 0 ≤ x ≥ α as a function of

argument is sufficient to establish not only the onset of

the tip velocity ȧ. For the steadily moving crack, trans-

fracture propagation in rate-insensitive, brittle solids,

form the time derivative in Eq. 6 into a spatial derivative

but also the condition for continuous crack propagation.

to obtain

If we denote by

∂u y

− Tn (X ) · (X, 0, ȧ) d X = (7)

∂X

Ȧ = T A · u̇ A ds (3) AC

→ →

A Now recall again Eq. 1 and in particular that Tn (0) = 0,

u y (α, 0, ȧ) = 0, and Tn = σo = constant for β < X <

the rate at which the tractions T A do work on the surface α; these facts and integration of Eq. 7 by parts yields

A of the region R in Fig. 7a and if Ḋ, Ẇ , Ṡ, and Q̇

β

denote, respectively, the rate of energy dissipation in β

u y (X, 0, ȧ)d X = (8)

R, the rate at which the stored energy changes, the rate σ0

of change of the surface energy, and the rate at which 0

heat is added to R, then the first law of thermodynamics To evaluate both the displacement criterion and the

requires that energy criterion, one needs to calculate, thus, only the

velocity-dependent displacement profile in the part of

Q̇ + Ȧ = Ḋ + Ẇ + 2 Ṡ (4) the material disintegration zone 0 ≤ x ≤ β. Note also

123

112 W. G. Knauss

that if /σ0 is constant then for β → 0 the two criteria u x (X, y, ȧ) + iu y (X, y, ȧ)

of Eqs. 2 and 8 are equivalent and independently so of 1

the crack speed. = J (t) κφ (ż) − φ(ż) − ż − ż¯ φ (ż)

2

t

1 ∂

+ J (t −ξ ) κφ(z)−φ(z) − (z − z̄)φ (z) dξ

2 ∂ξ

5.2 Solution to the viscoelastic-boundary-value 0

problem representing the moving crack (9)

Because the cohesive zone α is small compared to The first term on the right of Eq. 9 represents the

all other physical dimensions it suffices to consider displacement contribution due to an initial step-load

only the immediate neighborhood of the crack tip; it application. We are interested only in the motion of

is required to determine the displacement u y (X, 0, ȧ) the crack long after the starting transients have sub-

along 0 ≤ X ≥ α as a function of the load distribu- sided and the crack has enlarged from its initial geom-

tion over that domain. Sufficient details of the compu- etry. Under these conditions, the first term contributes

tations are presented in (Knauss 1973b); the relevant nothing to the crack opening displacement and we may

viscoelastic stress analysis is simplified through the neglect it in the further development. As stated earlier,

observation that the stress distribution for the under- the stresses derived from Eq. 9 via the stress–strain

lying boundary value problem is the same as for equations for a homogeneous, isotropic, and linearly

the linearly elastic problem, because (a) only trac- viscoelastic solid (ν = 1/2) yield a stress distribution

tions are prescribed on the boundary, including the which moves with the crack tip and which satisfies the

crack surfaces; (b) the tractions on the crack sur- boundary conditions in Eq. 1 on the crack, provided

faces are self-equilibrating; and (c) no body forces (see, e.g., Muskhelishvili 1963 and England 1971)

are present. Under this set of restrictions, the mate-

rial properties can be factored out of the linearized α √

1 σ y (τ ) τ − α

field equations, thus leaving the latter independent of φ (z) = √ dτ (10)

2πi z − α τ −z

the material properties. The components of the strain 0

tensor and of the displacement vector are, however,

dependent upon the material properties and hence where σ y (τ ) is the normal traction on the crack surface

are, functions of the stress or load history. That this (cf. Fig. 6e). In addition, φ (z) must also satisfy the

result should hold also for a crack enlarging quasi- far-field boundary conditions on the tractions T A (cf.

statically and rectilinearly may be deduced by way Fig. 7) which drive the crack. It has already been indi-

of the Kolosoff–Muskhelishvili method of complex cated that only the dominant part of the stress field near

potentials (Muskhelishvili 1963; England 1971) for the the crack tip is to be retained, which results from these

linearly elastic plane under the provisions (a)–(c) above far-field boundary conditions. This is accomplished by

(see Knauss 1973b). including in φ (z) an additive function

With the application of these calculations to an elas-

K √

tomer in mind, introduce one further simplification by φ f (z) = √ z−α (11)

assuming an incompressible solid (Poisson’s ratio ν = 2π

1/2). Let J (t) be the creep compliance in shear and which leaves the crack surface completely traction free

define for plane strain the constant κ = 3−4ν = 1, and for X < α. The factor K is termed the stress-intensity

for generalized plane stress κ = (3 − ν) / (1 + ν) = factor; it contains the far-field boundary conditions as

5/3. For the construction of the displacement compo- well as the geometry if the solid has finite dimensions

nents, we write the latter in terms of a single function in the plane, such as other cracks or holes, etc. Because

φ (see Muskhelishvili 1963; England 1971; Rice 1971) of the assumed symmetry in this problem, such bound-

as a result of the symmetry of the problem with self- aries must fall into the same symmetric pattern. The

equilibrating tractions on the crack surfaces. Define function φ (z) in Eq. 9 is thus the sum of φ f (z), Eq. 11,

X = x − ȧt, z = X + i y, ż = x + i y, and the displace- and the function, say, φc (z), obtained by integrating

ment components which depend on the crack speed ȧ Eq. 10, and which satisfies the boundary conditions on

by the crack surfaces; one has thus

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 113

φ (z) = φ f (z) + φc (z) (12) 3 π K

σo = √ (17)

4 2 α

The function φc (z) may be evaluated readily from

Eq. 10 by employing Eq. 1, but the calculations are Upon defining

tedious; the final result is

−1

σ0 α β − z C + C0 α 1

φc (z) = i ln − C0 C A= 1 − C0 − 1 − C0 + C0

3

(18)

π 2α C − C0 β 3

2 2

α β −z C −C0 z2 C +1

+ ln − ln

2β 2α 2 C +C0 2α 2 C −1 and taking account of Eqs. 11, 12, 13, and 15, one finds

z 1
√

− (1 − C0 ) 1 + C+ 1 − C0 C

3 K α A β −z C +C0

φ (z) = i √ C+ ln − C0 C

α 3 2π 2 2α C −C0

(13) 2 2

Aα β −z C −C0 z2 C +1

+

ln − ln

where C = [1 − z/α]1/2 and C0 = [1 − β/α]1/2 . 4β 2α 2 C +C0 2α 2 C −1

Now Eqs. 11 and 13 render φ (z) through Eq. 12. Both
z 1

Eq. 11 and Eq. 13 provide stresses which diverge as − (1 − C0 ) 1 + C+ 1 − C0 C

3

α 3

the inverse square root of the distance from the point (19)

(X = α, y = 0). The combination of Eqs. 11 and 13

allows the elimination of such singular stresses by a For the determination of the crack surface displacement

proper choice of σ0 , α and β in terms of the stress- over 0 ≤ X ≤ β evaluate Eq. 9 on the crack axis y = 0

intensity factor K . This is accomplished by letting the through the use of Eq. 19. It can be shown that on y = 0,

coefficient, multiplying the (combined) singularity and (z − z)φ(z) in the integrand of Eq. 9 vanishes and that

resulting from φ (z) in Eq. 12, vanish. This coefficient, φ(z) = −φ (z). We observe, furthermore, that for all

say K 0 , is given by X ≥ α the normal displacement uy is zero. This fact can

be used to change the lower limit of the integral in Eq. 9.

√ √

K 0 = 2 2π lim z − αφ (z) (14) To see this, consider a point x0 on the crack axis ahead

z→α

of the crack; suppose that the crack tip is stationary

and the point x0 moves to the left with the crack-tip

The vanishing of K 0 gives a relation, called the finite-

velocity ȧ, and then concentrate on the displacement

ness.condition, which links K 0 , σ0 , α and β by

u y of the point x0 . Evidently, the point experiences no

displacement at all until the time t0 when it reaches the

1 π K 3β/2α

σo = √ (15) tip at X = α. Moreover, any displacement subsequent

2 2 α 1 − Co3

to this event at t0 is a function only of the time which

has elapsed since the point passed X = 0; by virtue of

Although the stress-intensity factor K appears here as

the constancy of ȧ it is thus also only a function of the

well as subsequently, the stresses are now finite every-

distance from X = α. Use this latter fact to transform

where in the crack-tip region; therefore, K is only a

the time integral for the displacement u y in Eq, 9 to a

parameter representing the far-field loading conditions

spatial integral. Denote by ‘Im’ the imaginary part of a

and the geometry of the body apart from the crack tip.

complex function, so that

Note that for β → 0, Eq. 15 reduces to the well-known

result for a constant cohesive (yield) stress (see, e.g., t

κ +1 ∂φ(z)

Rice 1971) u y (x, 0, ȧ) = Im J (t − ξ ) dξ

y→0+ 2 ∂ξ

t0

1 π K

σo = √ (16) (20)

2 2 α

Define

while for β = α, representing a cohesive force distri-

√

bution which rises linearly from X = 0 to X = α, one K α

Im φ (z) = √ f (X ) (21)

obtains for the maximum stress y→0+ 2π

123

114 W. G. Knauss

X (t) X (ξ )

ρ= ;r =

α α

F (r ) = f (αr ) ; F (r ) = α f (αr ) (27)

so that Eq. 24 reads

⎧

√

κ +1 K α ⎨

u y (ρ, 0, ȧ) = √ J0 F (ρ)

2 2π ⎩

⎫

1 α ⎬

Fig. 8 Definition and transformation of crack-tip parameters and − J (r − ρ) F (r )dr

geometry ȧ ⎭

ρ

(28)

where

with

A β − X C + C0

f (X ) = C + ln − C0 C R = β/α

2 2α C − C0

A = A (R)

Aα β 2 − X 2 C −C0 X 2 C +1

+ ln − ln A R − r C + C0

4β 2α 2 C +C0 2α 2 C −1 F (r ) = C + ln − C0 C

2 2 C − C0

X 1 2

− (1 − C0 ) 1 + C+ 1 − C03 C Aα R − r 2 C − C0 r 2 C + 1

α 3 + ln − ln

4β 2 C + C0 2 C − 1

(22)

1

with C = [1 − X/α]1/2 and C0 = [1 − β/α]1/2 . Also, − (1 − C0 ) (1 + r ) C + 1 − C0 C

3

3

let

C = [1 − r ]1/2

where J (t) represents the transient creep response It remains to write this in terms of the tensile creep

such that J (0) = 0, and J0 is the initial or glassy compliance exhibited in Fig. 3 for the numerical eval-

compliance. Upon remembering that X = x − ȧt, uation of Eq. 28. Because of the assumed incompress-

Eq. 20 may then be written as ibility of the material, one has for the uniaxial creep

√ compliance D (t)

κ +1 K α

u y (X, 0, ȧ) = √ {J0 f (x − ȧt)

2 2π

⎫ J (t) = 3D (t) (29)

t ⎬

∂

+ J (t − ξ ) f (x − ȧξ )dξ Separate D (t) into its glassy and transient components

∂ξ ⎭

t0 D0 and D (t), with D (0) = 0. It will be seen

(24) later that the disintegration zone α is much smaller

than the sheet thickness employed in the experiments.

Without consequence set t0 = 0 and with reference to

It is thus currently assumed that for the local, crack-tip-

Fig. 8 define ζ and η by

dominated solution, conditions of plane strain prevail.

However, subsequently a stress-intensity factor is used,

X (t) = x − ȧt = α − ζ

. (25) which is determined from conditions of plane stress far

X (ξ ) = x − ȧξ = α − η

away from the crack tip; this condition is indicative

of the thin-sheet geometry which governs the stress

Then

state throughout the major, far-field portion of the strip

ζ −η X (ξ ) − X (t) geometry used in the experiments. The present assump-

t −ξ = = . (26) tion of local plane strain conditions should thus be

ȧ ȧ

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 115

viewed as an improvement on the crack-tip tress state we consider that σ0 instead of α remains constant14 and

as afforded by the plane stress field. Let us write thus represents some ultimate stress of the solid, similar to

for Eq. 28 with κ = 1 but not necessarily equal to the molecular strength of

⎧ the material. In that case α and β depend on the mag-

√

3K α ⎨ nitude of the load parameter (stress intensity factor)

u y (ρ, 0, ȧ) = √ D0 F (ρ)

2π ⎩ K.

⎫ With regard to the choice of β anticipate here some

1 α ⎬ numerical results. On the basis of computations to be

− D (r − ρ) F (r )dr discussed presently, the effect of varying β as examined

ȧ ⎭

ρ between the limits zero and α, leads to results that are,

(30) practically speaking, independent of β within plotting

accuracy. Since β was, in part, incorporated into the

analysis to effect a change in the cohesive force dis-

6 Evaluation of the crack propagation criteria tribution, one concludes that this distribution is rela-

tively unimportant for the crack-propagation process, at

Further evaluation results from substituting the dis- least for the material studied here. For rate-insensitive

placement Eq. 30 into the maximum strain criterion solids, this conclusion had been reached by Barenblatt

Eq. 2 and the energy criterion Eq. 8. The remainder has (1962) also, for the case when the cohesive zone is

to be accomplished numerically. First the two criteria small compared with any other dimensions of the solid.

are compared with each other and then with experi- That this result should be true for rate-sensitive solids

mental data. As a consequence of the comparison with is not immediately obvious, though. In the numerical

experimental measurements, some of the hitherto unde- work we have arbitrarily set R = 1/2. For brevity of

termined parameters will then be specified. notation, define, with E ∞ = 1/D (∞)15

α

ϑ ,ρ

ȧ

6.1 Comparison of the two fracture criteria ⎧ ⎫

⎨ 1 α ⎬

= E ∞ D0 F (ρ) − D (r − ρ) F (r )dr

Consider first the implications of the finiteness condi- ⎩ ȧ ⎭

ρ

tion, Eq. 15, in connection with its effect on the dis-

placement (Eq. 30). The latter contains the load para- (31)

meter K and the size of the cohesive zone α in the argu- and

ment of the creep compliance; but K , α, β, and σ0 are

connected by Eq. 15 and are therefore not independent R

α A (R)
α

of each other. In general, one must expect thus, that with

R = ϑ , ρ dρ (32)

changing K —usually implying a change in the crack- ȧ R ȧ

0

propagation speed—all three parameters, σ0 , α and β

change and become thus functions of the crack veloc-

so that Eq. 30 reads as

ity. Consider two special cases. First, that α remain

constant and that σ0 and β vary for different values of √

the stress intensity factor K in such a way that Eq, 15 is 3K α
α

u y (ρ, 0, ȧ) = √ ϑ ,ρ . (33)

satisfied. One then finds that a change in β alone cannot 2π E ∞ ȧ

satisfy Eq. 15 for all values of K of interest, but that for

sufficiently large K , an increase in the latter requires The crack-opening criterion (ultimate. constant strain

an increase in the maximum cohesive stress σ0 . Since criterion) of Eq. 2 requires then that the crack velocity

an increase in K results usually in an increased crack ȧ a be related to the load parameter K through

velocity, it would follow that an increase in crack veloc-

ity is associated also with an increase in the cohesive 14 This assumption is relinquished in (Knauss and Losi 1993).

stress; such a finding would be consistent with other 15 ϑ αȧ , ρ is a function of R also by virtue of F (r ), Eqs. 27

rate-sensitive properties of viscoelastic solids. Second, and 28.

123

116 W. G. Knauss

geometry for crack

propagation tests

√

3K α
α the stress-intensity factor for a quasi-statically moving

√ ϑ , 0 = u0 (34)

2π E ∞ ȧ crack is (for generalized plane stress and ν =1/2)

K2 = E ε b (40)

√ 3 ∞ ∞

3K α0 α0

√ ϑ , 0 = u0 (35) Insertion of Eq. 40 into Eq. 35 and Eqs. 37 through 39

2π E ∞ ȧ

relates the steady rate of crack propagation ȧ to the

while for σ0 = constant, Eq. 15, in the form applied strain ε∞ through the two variants of the two

hypothetical fracture criteria. Upon using the notational

definition

√ π K A (R)

α= (36)

2 σ0 2

π bE ∞

2 A2 (R)

Q= (41)

demands 6σ02

3 K 2 A (R) π K 2 A2 (R) one finds that the fracture criteria now appear as fol-

ϑ , 0 = u0 (37) lows:

4 σ0 E ∞ 8σ02 ȧ

From Eq. 35, the crack opening displacement cri-

terion becomes

The same considerations apply to the energy criterion,

α

Eq. 8. In view of the normalization preceding Eq. 27 0 π u0

and the definition in Eq. 32, this criterion can be written, ε∞ ϑ ,0 = √ , α0 = constant (42)

ȧ 6 bα0

for α = α0 = constant as

α and from Eq. 36

3 2 0

K R = E∞ (38)

4 ȧ

Qε∞ 2 σ0 u 0

ε∞

2

ϑ ,0 = , σ0 = constant (43)

and for constant σ0 as ȧ E ∞ A (R) b

3 K2 π K 2 A2 (R)

R = E ∞ . (39) respectively,

4 σ0 8σ02 ȧ

α

0

Next, particularize these results for the geometry of ε∞

2

R = , α0 = constant (44)

ȧ E∞b

a long strip (cf. Fig. 2b and suitably dimensioned in

Fig. 9). and

Denote the strain across the strip by ε∞ . If, as stated

earlier, interest is restricted to times when the crack Qε∞ 2

moves into the long-time equilibrium stress field, then ε∞

2

R = , σ0 = constant. (45)

ȧ E∞b

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 117

four potential fracture

criteria (see text for detailed

parameter information)

For the numerical evaluation of the relations in Eqs. 42– The result that both the energy and the crack–

45, the creep compliance marked 1 and 5 in Fig. 4 is opening displacement criteria are coincident for σ0 =

used. To keep these computations economical and in constant may be, superficially speaking, surprising. It

view of the intrinsic uncertainty of the experimental is true though, that for rate-insensitive elastic–plastic

data, which is on the order of ±5 %, an error of 0.1 % solids, the Dugdale model for sheet fracture [for R =

in the integration was deemed sufficient for the present 0, A (R) = 1] equates the two criteria for predicting

purpose. Not much more needs to be reported about this initial crack instability if one sets u 0 σ0 = (Wnuk

integration other than that a routine based on Simpson’s 1969; Wnuk and Knauss 1970). Furthermore, it has

rule was used and that care was exercised in evaluat- already been stated at the end of the previous Section

ing the limits of the products involving the logarithmic that the two criteria are identical if and σ0 are constant

functions in the functions F (r ) and F (r ), (/σ0 = const) and if β → 0. The thought is there-

The two criteria Eqs. 42, 43 and Eqs. 44, 45 each fore close that for different values of β the two criteria

involve three undetermined parameters, if R = 1/2 as should also give the same crack-propagation behavior

indicated earlier in this section. For the crack opening in agreement with the stated insensitivity of the results

displacement criterion we lack, at this stage, the values to variations in β in Fig. 10. However, the close agree-

of u0 and either α0 or σ0 , while for the energy criterion ment between the two criteria Eqs. 43 and 45—both

we need to determine and α0 or σ0 . Since both u 0 and for constant σ0 —is a consequence of the creep prop-

were assumed to be independent of the crack speed, erties displayed in Fig. 3. Some reflection, too lengthy

they may be evaluated from conditions prevailing as to be detailed here, shows that the two criteria should

ȧ → 0. The remaining parameters are then determined predict, closely, the same crack-propagation behavior

by matching the velocity scale to experimental data, if if the maximum slope of log D (t) versus log t is not

such matching is at all possible. For an initial compar- great16 (about 0.7 in Fig. 3). For a significantly greater

ison, u 0 or were chosen such that ε∞ = 0.01 for

ȧ → 0. The graphical representation of Eqs. 42–45 16 R. A. Schapery’s developments include the powerlaw approx-

is given in Fig. 10. The crack opening displacement imation for the constitutive behavior. This approximation is valid

criterion for constant α deviates most from the others, if the second derivative of the logarithm of the material function,

primarily because it involves the strain ε∞ to the first e.g., creep compliance, with respect to the logarithm of time

power, while the others demand the square of the strain. is “small” and allows the approximate evaluation of convolu-

tion integrals such as Eq. 24. The reason that the two criteria

123

118 W. G. Knauss

slope, the criteria should not agree, while for slopes test method, since they result from the prescription of

smaller than or equal to 0.7, they should agree as well the load in the form of displacements (strain) rather than

as for the properties employed here. To check this asser- tractions. In practical terms this correction is, however,

tion, the two criteria Eqs. 43 and 45 were evaluated for small compared to the effect of the shift factor φT .

a standard linear solid having the same short and long A second, brief observation relates to the rate-

time limits as the polyurethane elastomer characterized dependent fracture energy, which plays a prominent

in Fig. 3. The result of this separate calculation was part in the works of Thomas (1958, 1960), Greensmith

a different crack-speed prediction (σ0 and β = α/2 (1964) and M.L. Williams (1965). Let this energy be

were used in both cases) as derived from the two cri- denoted by S (ȧ). For the strip geometry in Fig. 9 this

teria. Even when they were brought to agreement for quantity can be expressed for constant temperature by

ȧ → 0, the predicted velocity differed by approxi- (see Mueller and Knauss 1971b)

mately 25 % over a range of velocities spanning about

seven decades; the energy criterion predicted the slower 4

S (ȧ) = E ∞ ε∞

2

b (47)

crack propagation. The agreement for the two criteria 3

is thus, in principle, fortuitous and the result of the

particular, if general, material properties. From a prac- Substituting, for example, Eq. 47 into Eq. 44 yields

tical viewpoint, one must bear in mind, however, that

a standard linear solid, for example, is hardly a good 4 8

S (ȧ) = = as ȧ → 0 (48)

representative for a polymer, and that the polyurethane 3 R αȧ0 3

elastomer employed in this study is much more rep-

resentative of polymeric solids. Equation 45 is, most Thus, the “rate-dependent fracture energy” is essen-

likely, the rule, rather than the exception in the frac- tially the product of the intrinsic fracture energy ,

ture of viscoelastic polymers. Before proceeding to presumably of molecular origin, and a non-dimensional

the exploitation of the laboratory measurements, two function R (α0 /ȧ)−1 which embodies the rheology

deductions follow from the criteria as stated so far. of the material surrounding the crack tip. This result

If the material is thermorheologically simple, one contradicts the suggestion (Williams 1965)17 that the

sees with the aid of Eq. 30 that a change in temper- rate-dependent fracture energy be the sum of the intrin-

ature affects the time scale through a shift factor φT sic fracture energy (surface energy) and of the viscous

which multiplies the velocity ȧ. Moreover, on the basis contribution. Finally, if Eq. 47 is combined with Eq. 45

of the classical theory of rubber elasticity, the equi- instead of Eq. 44, a less simple relation results, namely

librium modulus E ∞ is proportional to the absolute

temperature T in Eqs. 43 and 45; E ∞ 2 enters the argu-

ment of ϑ or through Q (see Eq. 41). If one writes 3 π E ∞ A2 (R) S (ȧ)

S (ȧ) R = (49)

thus the temperature-dependent equivalent of Eq. 45, 4 8 σ02 ȧ

for example, there results, with T0 as a reference (here

273 K) and with E ∞ at the temperature T In concluding this discussion on the equivalence of the

crack opening displacement and the energy criteria, it

π bE ∞

2 A2 (R) ε 2

∞ T

2 T0 is emphasized once more, with a view towards Fig. 7,

ε∞

2

R = (46) that this equivalence has been shown so far to hold

6σ02 ȧ T02 φT E∞ T b

only if the maximum cohesive stress σ0 is a constant.

The same is not necessarily true if σ0 is a function of

Thus the crack-velocity data need not necessarily time–

the crack-propagation speed; it is obviously not true if

temperature shift according to the shift law for ther-

α = α0 , and independently so of the crack propagation

morheologically simple solids, but may involve further

speed. Henceforth, reference is limited to the energy

temperature corrections. Moreover, these possible cor-

criterion if α0 = constant and not to the crack opening

rections, as evidenced in Eq. 46 are occasioned by the

displacement criterion.

Footnote 16 continued

discussed in this work render nearly the same result is intimately 17 Following Orowan’s suggestion that this be the case for plas-

connected with the justification for the Schapery approximation. tically deforming solids.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 119

data for multiple production

runs, prior to applying the

time–temperature

superposition process

6.2 Deductions from laboratory measurements in Fig. 9, which data is reproduced next in Fig. 11.

Limiting the evaluation to the results for one produc-

Sections 5 and 6 so far presented detailed arguments tion batch18 the time–temperature shifted fracture data

for the plausibility of a crack-propagation model. In is shown in Fig. 12; the relevant shift factors are also

essence, it was queried whether the realistic depen- shown in Fig. 4 together with the data for the basic

dence of crack speed on the loading can be described rheological data.

in terms of such a simple model. So far this model has In Fig. 12 the energy criterion for σ0 = constant

been evaluated only analytically in preparation for the is shown as the solid curve through the measured

answer to this question. In comparing these calcula- data. It is clear, specifically upon considering Fig. 10,

tions to measurements, one searches for two kinds of that the crack-propagation criteria Eqs. 42 and 44 for

information. First, one is interested in whether one or α = constant will fit the data to a distinctly lesser

another of the crack-propagation equations (Eqs. 42– degree than for σ0 = constant. One observes, thus,

45) can be made to agree with physical measurements that the proposed model does not only fit reasonably

by a suitable choice of the unknown parameters. Sec- well to the experimental data, but specifies further that

ond, if a coincidence between the calculations and the maximal cohesive stress at the crack tip remains—

the experimental results can be achieved, it would be at least for this polyurethane elastomer—independent

appealing if the parameters so determined were phys- of the applied load or strain ε∞ and independent of the

ically reasonable. In this way, one might “make a crack-growth speed.

case” for the model, although one would not necessar- Turn next to the evaluation of the parameters σ0 ,

ily prove that the supposed crack-propagation process and u 0 as well as the range of variation for α. To deter-

delineated in Sect. 5 is uniquely true. mine evaluate Eq. 45 for ȧ → 0, where, on account of

It will be recalled in connection with Fig. 3 that an Fig. 10, ε∞ = 0.01, and by noting that R (∞) = 1/2

effort was made to assess the influence of material pro- which latter relation follows from the numerical calcu-

duction variability. In the same sense fracture data was

derived from tests employing the specimen geometry 18 For the complete data presentation refer to Knauss (1973b).

123

120 W. G. Knauss

Fig. 12 Time–Temperature

shifted crack propagation

data derived from one

production run (sheet # 4);

for more details see Knauss

(1973b)

lations since Eq. 32 was not integrated in closed form able. Whether the microstructurally oriented parame-

for ȧ → 0. ters u 0 and α have realistic values is difficult to say

By matching the velocity scale of Fig. 12 to the since they depend strongly on the use of the linearly

velocity scale in Fig. 10. One obtains values for Q from viscoelastic theory. The most pertinent experimental

which one determines σ0 by virtue of Eq, 41. Upon eval- information is the fact that this polyurethane elastomer

uating Eqs. 43 and 31 for ȧ →0 and letting ε∞ = 0.01 breaks with a mirror like fracture surface like inor-

one finds u 0 . Using b = 0.69 inch, E ∞ = 398 psi, ganic glass at any test strain and velocity measured in

ν = 0.5, and R = 0.5, one obtains 19 the experiments. Irregularities of the fracture topology

which may be an indication of how large the cohe-

= 0.014 lb/in

sive zone is, are therefore less than the wavelength

σ0 = 1.7 − 2.5 104 psi of visible light. For a strain of ε∞ = 0.1, one would

u 0 = 1.0 × 10−6 in (225 Å) obtain a value of α = 600(300) Å, while for the min-

α = 2.5 − 1.3 × 10−4 ε∞

2

in imum strain of ε∞ = 0.01 where ȧ → 0, this value

would be only 6(3) Å. On the average, this value of

= 6.3 − 3.1 × 104 ε∞

2

Å

α is acceptable in the light of the upper bound pro-

vided by the smoothness of the crack surface, but for

The values of these parameters invite several com- ȧ → 0, the zone represents clearly molecular rather

ments. In earlier measurements with nominally the than continuum mechanical dimensions. Therefore, in

same material, but with a different pretest history, the examining these small values of α critically we must

intrinsic fracture energy was found to be of the same not forget that these data (and the value of σ0 ) are the

order of magnitude ( ≈ 0.09 lb/in.) and in reason- result of matching the theoretical velocity scale to the

able agreement with calculations based on the molecu- experimental one, which was in turn assembled by a

lar origin of this quantity (Lake and Thomas 1967). A none-too-accurate time–temperature correspondence.

value of 0.014 lb/in. appears, therefore, fairly accept- More importantly, we recall that we have not accounted

for the nonlinearly viscoelastic response of the highly

19 The range of these values derives from the complete set of deformed material at the crack tip. If the large strains at

measurements represented in Knauss (1973a), for which Fig. 11 the crack tip have the effect of shortening the time scale

is representative.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 121

of the relaxation spectrum this would possibly lead to Although the formulation of the crack speed prob-

an explanation. This question shall be dealt with in the lem as a function of applied loads provides good agree-

next Section. ment with measurements on polyurethane rubber on

With regard to the crack opening displacement, a the more global scale the exceedingly small, appar-

value of 225 A is not unreasonable in connection with ent size of the cohesive zone certainly deserves more

the just cited values of α. We bear in mind, however, detailed attention and discussion. Although this glaring

that u 0 is, physically speaking, a less meaningful quan- discrepancy has not deterred any one from using the

tity than, for instance, the cohesive stress σ0 or the theory for viscoelastic fracture, it has remained a trou-

disintegration-zone size α. The picture that presents blesome question in the wider applications to polymer

itself of the deformed disintegration zone near the limit fracture. This apparent physical discrepancy had been

ȧ → 0 is thus one of a short zone highly elongated nor- noted in connection with the earliest mechanics based

mal to the crack axis for ε∞ = 0.01, while at higher model for viscoelaslic fracture (Mueller 1968) as well

crack velocities (ε∞ = 0.1), the length of the zone is as in (Mueller and Knauss 1971b) and (Knauss 1970,

about as long as its dimension across the crack axis 1973b). As stated earlier, Schapery was led to the same

(2u 0 ) This calculated shape of the crack-tip zone indi- conclusion inasmuch as he used the same material data

cates large, finite, deformation gradients which vio- underlying these last references. The same dichotomy

late the precepts of linear viscoelasticity theory; obvi- was, however, rediscovered in the 1990s by Gent et al.

ously, this observation cannot be left out of considera- (1994), Gent and Lai (1994), Gent (1996) who reported

tion when one evaluates the overall merit of the crack- this dimension to be on the order of 1 Å or smaller,

propagation model presented here. Again, more will be but for different elastomers than reported here. There

stated about this issue in the next section. appears to have been no successful attempt at resolving

Finally note that to our knowledge there exists no this size question by direct experimental means, yet.

good estimate for the magnitude of σ0 , If the material

were a crystal, one would expect a value on the order

of 10 % of the elastic modulus. The fact that the above 7.1 The potential role of free volume in the present

range of σ0 is between 7 and 10 % of the glassy modulus context

(estimated to be about 2.5 × 105 psi from Fig. 3) may

be significant, but could be equally well fictitious if Before delving into a numerical estimation of the effect

one considers the amorphous molecular structure of the of large stresses on the viscoelastic material character-

material and the large deformations which this structure istics it is useful to analyze a potential reason for why

experiences at the crack tip. the cohesive zone turns out so small when linearly vis-

In concluding this “physical” evaluation of the crack coelastic properties are involved. A small cohesive zone

propagation model we also note that in all the crack has the major effect of inducing large strain gradients,

propagation measurements involving the Solithane 113 and in connection with the rate of crack propagation,

polyurethane the phenomenon of “knotty” or “stick- commensurately high deformation rates at the crack

slip” tearing reported for the work at the Natural Rubber tip. The test/analysis results may thus imply the likely

Producers’ Research Association did not arise.20 scenario that the small zone size is required for a lin-

early viscoelastic medium to compensate for a potential

change in the relaxation spectrum when ultra-high ten-

7 Mechanical and thermal dilatation and the size sile stress levels are involved, in particular for a likely

of the cohesive zone and significant reduction in the time scale of the mate-

rial under these high dilatational stresses.

Let us turn next to address the surprisingly small size It has long been understood that dilatation and pres-

of the cohesive zone. sures influence the time scale of polymer mechanical

response; this has been suggested by Williams et al.

20 Although this phenomenon has been reported repeatedly from (1955) as a result of the thermal dilatation on which the

this organization, where a set of different test configurations were

used over the years, it was not possible to determine whether this

WFL equation is based, by Ferry (1980), by Knauss and

stick-slip phenomenon was ever associated with the “pure shear” Emri (1981, 1987), Losi and Knauss (1992), Knauss

configuration used exclusively in the present context. (2011a, b), (Knauss and Ravichandran 2015), Fillers

123

122 W. G. Knauss

and Tschoegl (1977), Moonan and Tschoegl (1983, and thermal flow in the crack tip vicinity, because this

1984) and exploited by Knauss and collaborators in raises a question that is certainly self-inviting and has

investigations related to nonlinear viscoelastic behav- been addressed experimentally in connection with frac-

ior via “clock models”. A similar model, derived from ture problems before, though not in connection with

the damage-induced nonlinear behavior of solid rocket strongly viscoelastic materials. Here we connect this

propellants had been proposed by Schapery (1969), topic with the suggestion by Carbone and Persson

as a result of dewetting—induced21 vacuole forma- (2005) that temperatures at the tip of a crack running

tion instead of suggesting the free volume as the possi- in vicsoelastic material (polymer) will reach tempera-

ble physical basis. The important idea is that pressure tures on the order of 1000 ◦ K, though at such tempera-

decreases the free volume while tension enlarges it. tures polymers typically have been chemically decom-

Correspondingly, the mobility of molecule segments is posed. Arguments advanced for the reality of such high

reduced or enhanced so that the intrinsic material time temperatures are offered, on the one hand, in terms of

scale is, respectively, lengthened or shortened. Accord- the appearance of surfaces roughness generated under

ingly, the high stresses in the crack tip vicinity reduce friction, and the smooth appearance of fracture sur-

the viscous component of the material, and the lin- faces generated at relatively high velocities observed

ear representation compensates for this occurrence by as by Tsunoda et al. (2000), similar to the fracture

making the material appear more viscous by selecting surfaces described here in Sect. 9. While one cannot

a small cohesive zone which, in turn, produces (artifi- categorically deny temperature rises at the tips of run-

cially) high local deformation rates. It will be of interest ning cracks in viscoealstic materials—see the para-

to estimate the magnitude of this effect on the size of graph immediately above—there are several reasons

the cohesive zone. that the estimate offered by Carbone and Persson are

In doing so one needs to consider also the effect more than questionable. These authors employ the vis-

which local energy dissipation has on raising the tem- coelastic material description of a Kelvin solid for an

perature in this region. During the 1950s and 1960s we initial estimate, while admitting that this is too simple

have worried about temperature rise as a result of large a material representation to be realistic, at best. What is

stains and have attempted to asses this via laboratory more important, however, is that a linear material repre-

measurements. In those situation the temperature rise sentation in the vicinity of the highly strained crack tip

was usually rather limited, on the order of a few degrees region is not admissible, in particular not for a material

C when the deformation rates were in the range of tens as that employed in Tsunoda et al. (2000) to which this

of percent per second. Figure 11 shows that most of the high-temperature suggestion relates. Measurements of

crack propagation data result from tip velocities of less material (vibrational) damping under slowly increas-

than 1 inch/min, certainly not categorizable as “fast”. ing strain conducted many years ago in our laborato-

Moreover, if “faster” crack growth is encountered such ries demonstrated that with increasing strain the damp-

modest temperature rises would be offset by the adia- ing characteristics dropped off roughly in proportion

batic cooling in the crack-tip region. We thus opt, for to the slope of the stress–strain description, when the

now, to circumvent the thermal issue for the physical molecular alignment region of the large-deformation

data presented here and limit ourselves to the mechani- stress–strain curve was reached damping was rather

cal dilatation source (see also the discussion of thermal minimal, because segmental mobility relative to each

effects in the following section). other was seriously impeded by the molecular orien-

tation. The argument that a smooth fracture surface is

indicative of rubber-melting resulting from high tem-

7.2 The question of temperature increases at crack peratures contradicts the cross-linked nature of rubbers.

tips in dissipative materials First, all the measurements on crack propagation con-

ducted with Solithane 113 exhibited glass-like fracture

It is, nevertheless, of considerable interest in this con- surfaces except for small disturbances of the smooth-

nection to address the question of energy dissipation ness by tiny inclusions and/or very small bubbles orig-

21 Dewetting refers to the mechanical separation of the elas-

inating from the casting process (see the discussion in

tomeric binder from the hard oxidizer particles in solid propel- Sect. 6.2 following the evaluation of the fracture para-

lants. meters). These small disturbances should have disap-

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 123

peared if “melting” of a crosslinked polymer were a about half of that value for Titanium. Such temperatures

possibility at all. Also the argument that brittle solids cannot even be expected to be achieved in a polymer, (a)

break with a rough surface as support for the idea that because the energy expenditure for these metals to fail

smooth fracture surfaces must have a thermal com- are larger by orders of magnitude than polymers would

ponent is clearly contradicted by the glassy smooth admit, and (b) because at least most of the latter, at best,

fracture surfaces produced in silicate glasses, the typ- begin to disintegrate chemically at such temperatures.

ical “brittle” fracture solid. “Molten rubber” has been

experienced in the writer’s career only on occasions

when extensively rubbed surfaces, such as on automo- 7.3 An estimate of a bound on the cohesive zone size

bile tires in the process of failure due to sliding sur-

faces as occur in connection with belt-body separations, While it is not likely that one is able to compute a

and when enough time and continuous working of the precise measure of the true size of the cohesive zone

degraded product is available to change the chemical without knowing the nonlinearly viscoelastic proper-

structure of the network in such a process. ties of the polymer well, one can expect to provide the

One additional segment of information is worth con- rational argument that neglecting the effect of dilatation

sidering at this point, namely the result of measure- on the relaxation spectrum of the polymer accounts for

ments of temperature changes in Solithane 113 elas- its inordinately small value presented in the past. One

tomer under high rates of uniaxial compression (103 – reason for the remaining lack of precision is that the

104 per second). These studies were conducted as part dilatation varies spatially in the crack tip region and

of research into the fracture mitigating role of elas- only a numerical analysis would render a close esti-

tomers in explosive environments. The uniaxial com- mate in the manner that Moran and Knauss (1992) and

pression ratio was typically 50 % and was generated Knauss and Losi (1993)22 have pursued analytically,

with the aid of a Hopkinson pressure bar. Both high also for a similar material. The limitations underlying

speed photography and thermal tracking via thermo- the current estimate are delineated further below.

couples provided a maximum temperature increase of Let us assume, then, that the timescale of the vis-

40 ◦ K for numerous tests, substantially less that the coelastic material is governed by a multiplicative fac-

1000 ◦ K differential suggested by Carbone and Pers- tor p that depends on the magnitude of σ0 . In view

son (2005), though a 40 ◦ K temperature rise by itself of Eqs. 16, 41 and 42, Eq. 46 may be written as [for

would materially affect the crack propagation rate sig- A (R) = 1]

nificantly simply on the basis of the time–temperature
α

superposition principle.

ε∞

2

p (σ0 ) = (50)

Finally, it is well to observe that measurements on ȧ E∞b

both silicate glasses and on high strength steel have

where, for ease of reference, we restate the value of αas

been performed in which the values suggested by Car-

bone and Persson might have been reached in a silicate 2

πb E ∞ ε∞

glass. Weichert and Schönert (1973, 1978) performed α= (51)

measurements related to crack tip temperatures. How- 6 σ0

ever, the analytical evaluation of the data hinged on

with σ0 as the previously stated cohesive stress deter-

the assumed spatial distribution such that if the tem-

mined experimentally (by virtue of the fact that this

perature rise was associated with a size domain of

represents the best and closest fit to the experimen-

nearly atomic dimensions (30 Å), this very high ther-

tal data) to be 138 MPa (2 × 104 psi), on average,

mal energy concentration yielded temperatures some-

while the rate-independent fracture energy is found

what above 1000 ◦ K, while a ten times larger zone size

from the long-term rubbery domain to equal 175 N/m

rendered temperature increases of only 200 ◦ K; How-

(0.014 lb/in.) and the modulus as E ∞ = 2.74 MPa

ever, a definitive zone size could not be established.

(398 psi). Note that while the maximum tensile stress at

More recent measurements on thermal dissipation in

high strength steel by Zehnder and Rosakis (1991) 22 Contains results for how the nonlinear material characteriza-

and Mason and Rosakis (1993) yielded temperature tion changes the size of the cohesive zone as a function of the

changes of the crack tip material by about 450 ◦ K, with crack velocity.

123

124 W. G. Knauss

the cohesive zone is σ0 over the length α of (half of) the lent temperature allows then an estimate via Fig. 4 of

cohesive zone, the stresses in the vicinity are typically how much of the time temperature shifting results from

smaller, but it is not known and difficult to estimate over the mechanical component of the dilatation. This “how

how much of a region sufficiently high stresses domi- much-value” is in the form of the multiplicative factor

nate to affect the relaxation time scale of the material. p (σ0 ) in the argument of the function in Equation 50.

Moreover, the crack-parallel stress at the cohesive zone This equivalent temperature change turns out to range

should also be on the order of σ0 , and because the sheet between 25 and 40 ◦ C, and because of Eq. 50 one finds

thickness is very much larger than the size of the cohe-

sive zone, there may be a significant three-dimensional α ≈ 4.7ε∞

2

p(σ0 ) microns, along with

component to the dilatational stress around the crack

tip. At most one would expect, therefore, that the max- 700 < p(σ0 ) < 104 (53)

imal dilatational component would be on the order of

σ0 ; however, because the stresses drops quickly away Bearing in mind from Fig. 11 or 12 that the range for

from the cohesive zone but such that strain rates are the experimentally applied strain is 0.01 < ε∞ < 0.25

still sufficiently high to invoke viscoelastic response of one finds the range extremes for α as 4 < α < 3000μ.

the rubber. While this is a rather large range it clearly removes con-

To estimate the dilation (Knauss 2011a) one needs siderations from molecular dimensions into the realm

to know the bulk modulus of the material. Because of continuum mechanics. Moreover, consideration of

bulk modulus data are very difficult to obtain it was the temperature rise at the crack tip, which had been

initially assumed (Knauss 2003) that the bulk mod- excluded here, would further increase this value.

ulus for the Polyurethane was the same as that for There is, however, a further upper constraint on this

PMMA, because polymers possess moduli that are range, which arises from the observation that fracture in

close to each other rather than widely different. How- this polyurethane occurred with a mirror-like surface,

ever, more recent direct measurements for a polyurea especially at the low strain levels (slow crack propa-

(Chakkarapani et al. 2006), similar in consistency and gation rates), which speaks to the probability that the

glass transition behavior to the polyurethane used in surface roughness is measured in microns or less, and

(Knauss 2003), which provided a lower bulk modulus, that, therefore, the cohesive zone size should also be at

of k = 2.1 GPa, instead of k = 2.4 GPa for PMMA. most in that range. The “roughness” or unevenness at

This property is still assumed to be essentially a con- the higher strains clearly arise from inclusions or bub-

stant rather than a function of time or deformation rate. bles that derived from the casting process. This obser-

We next draw on the same principle for estimat- vation in the low speed range indicates also that frac-

ing the dilatational effect on the material time scale ture occurs very close to the crack-tip, and that only

as delineated in previous publications (Fillers and at larger strains—accompanying higher velocities—do

Tschoegl 1977; Knauss and Emri 1981, 1987; Moonan multiple fracture sites arise, for which a dimension for

and Tschoegl 1983, 1984; Knauss 2011a, b; Knauss a (modeled) single cohesive zone is no longer precisely

and Ravichandran 2015, namely that thermally and viable. One is thus lead to the conclusion that for the

mechanically induced dilations have similar effect on linearly viscoelastic model based on a single cohesive

the intrinsic material time scale. Thus, if γ is the lin- zone the zone size should be on the order of at most

ear thermal expansion for the material and Teq an a few microns, but not on the order of Angstroms. It

“equivalent” temperature (Knauss 2011a, b), equating appears thus clear that the inclusion of the dilatational

thermal and mechanical dilation renders influence on the viscoelastic spectrum of relaxation

times improves the estimation of the size scale of the

P cohesive zone to a realm which makes the whole theory

3γ T = − (52)

k of viscoelastic fracture appear more reasonable. More-

over, the current estimation is so general because of its

which relates the dilatational stress “P” to a temper- relatively wide bounds, that the same argumentation is

ature change Teq which “equivalently” accounts for likely to apply to other materials, including those of the

changing the time scale of the material at the crack- type considered by Gent (1996), Gent and Lai (1994)

tip resulting from the high stresses there. That equiva- and Gent et al. (1994).

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 125

for crack speed tests of

swollen Solithane 113

elastomer while submerged

in toluene

7.4 Swelling induced dilatation 3200 frames/s. One notes that the lowest values of the

strain are about at 2 %, while the steady state lower

To further explore the role of free volume dilatation on boundary for the unswollen state occurred for 1 %.

the speed of crack propagation, and especially on the Against expectations, that low range was not accessible

value of the equilibrium fracture energy, studies were with the high recording rate of the high speed camera

carried out in the mid-1970s on the fracture behavior of because the range of velocities involved in these tests

Solithane 113 swollen in Toluene, which produced an was simply too large for this camera.

equilibrium volumetric swelling ratio of 2.6. The idea The data can be shifted into a master curve, however

was that extensive swelling would reduce the viscous the resulting shift data does not follow the WLF format

interaction of chain segments extensively and thus vir- for the unswollen material. The reason is, most likely,

tually eliminate time dependent effects, leaving only that the polymer chain interaction associated with the

the elastic characteristics of the crosslinked network. WLF reduction scheme has been replaced mostly by

Extensive details may be found in Knauss and Mueller the viscosity alteration of the Toluene, which changes

(1967) and Mueller and Knauss (1971a). While the full its viscosity by a factor of almost two in the 42 ◦ C tem-

range of investigations may be gathered from these ref- perature range for these tests. Finally, it is of interest to

erences it suffices to delineate here that particular frac- note that the fracture surfaces maintained their mirror-

ture behavior. Figure 13 depicts the geometry used as like smooth surfaces for all tests on swollen Solithane

crack propagation specimens while submerged in the as for the non-swollen state.

equilibrium-swollen state. Similar results for swollen SBR rubber have been

Because the intrinsic viscosity of the rubber had reported more recently by Tsunoda et al. (2000), though

been largely removed by virtue of the large swelling the swelling ratio for those tests was more moderate.

ratio, the fracture process proceeded very fast, on the Accordingly, the difference in velocities achieved are

order of 104 times faster than in the unswollen state. less pronounced.

The material became strain-sensitive to the onset of

crack propagation in the swollen state in that this rapid

crack growth occurred after a period of slower crack 7.5 The effect of sheet thickness

initiation. Locating the crack tip required a photoelas-

tic set-up, and a single fringe was sufficient to achieve So far crack propagation has been considered in a two-

this goal. The initiation phase was difficult to ascer- dimensional deformation state without specific refer-

tain and thus a continuous straining (constant strain ence to the truly three-dimensional state in the crack tip

rate) was employed to follow the propagation progress. vicinity—except for the brief comment in this regard

Figure 14 shows the result for the virtually constant, in Sect. 7.3. It is well understood in sheet metal fail-

terminal crack speeds, which were obtain with the ure that the toughness (resistance to crack growth) is

aid of a Magnifax high-speed photographic camera at reduced as one passes from thin to thick sheet stock.

123

126 W. G. Knauss

speeds in Solithane 113

swollen to equilibrium in

Toluene, at three different

temperatures

The reason behind this behavior is the change in the decreasing size of the cohesive zone (see Sect. 9). The

three-dimensional stress field and the attendant influ- question arises thus as to why this difference between

ence of the plastic deformation in that region, so that the metal and elastomer fracture occurs. The answer lies,

fracture energy is typically considered to be a function most likely, in the local three-dimensional deformation

of the plate thickness. Thick plates, allowing a clos- mode at the crack tip.

est approach to conditions of plain strain at the crack In metal fracture the localization of the plastic defor-

front, lead to the lowest resistance to crack growth. In mation is restricted to the zone near the plate sur-

the present context of viscosity-, rather than plasticity- faces, so that after some minimum plate thickness has

dominated energy losses the inverse seems to hold. been reached, the plastic zone size does not increase

Figure 15 shows crack propagation records under markedly with plate thickness. In contrast, the elas-

steady crack growth conditions (strip geometry) for tomer fracture entails no (obvious) localization phe-

specimens of the same polyurethane material possess- nomenon,23 so that, the size limitation, discussed in

ing three different sheet thicknesses. The three solid Sect. 8 below notwithstanding, the zone size in which

lines represent the same function, but shifted along the dissipation really occurs increases with the plate thick-

log-velocity axis. It is clear that there exists a systematic ness, at least within the range of the specimen thickness

variation in the crack propagation speed, the thickest included here. This observation is an alert that the dom-

specimen giving rise to the slowest propagation rates. inant zone size at the crack tip is not necessarily the very

Thus the thicker specimens offer the greater resistance small (and theoretically deduced) cohesive zone size,

to crack propagation, in contrast to the elastic–plastic but a larger zone that surrounds the crack tip within

counterpart for metal fracture. The maximum thickness which the rate controlling dissipation occurs. These

ratio is eight, and the corresponding difference in prop- thoughts may be also appropriate in connection with

agation speeds is about 10 (one decade). Tsunoda et al. the repeated observations below that the application

(2000) have also measured the effect of sheet thickness of the steady state solution is questionable under non-

on the tear energy of carbon reinforced SBR elastomers steady or transient growth conditions, though it should

and found a complementary result for an even larger be applicable if the only viscoelastically required size

range of thicknesses (26:1 instead of 8:1 here). In this parameter “α” were indeed as small as the comparison

case the differences were reserved for the slower prop- of the theory with experiments requires.

agating speeds with no apparent thickness effect at the

higher velocities when the crack propagated under a 23 Possible strain crystallization effects are excluded here.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 127

Fig. 15 Temperature-

reduced crack propagation

data in a strip test

configuration for three

different specimen

thicknesses. The maximum

difference amounts to a

factor of ten in crack

propagation speed

8 Non-steady crack growth detailed history of load application intertwined with the

effects of the changing geometry, including the crack

The presentation to this point has concentrated on the size.

steady propagation of a crack, i.e. a crack that has been The previous results hinged on the evaluation of the

traveling through a medium at long-time equilibrium displacement integral (30) which could be readily eval-

and a crack-tip history that did not change with time. uated, albeit numerically for the case of steady condi-

Realistic fracture problems require, however, that one tions (K = consant). This condition cannot be met for

understand crack propagation under possibly time-wise the general case. If the stress intensity factor varies in a

widely varying (far-field) loading conditions. Again, known manner with time it must and can be included in

the above mentioned internet search for advances in this the convolution integral. On the other hand, the crack

context have not turned up any developments devoted speed ȧ varies with time; and its history and relation to

to this topic. Rather, whenever advances in understand- the stress intensity factor are not (necessarily) known.

ing viscoelastic fracture are mentioned the inference is Moreover, if the stress intensity factor depends on the

made in terms of steady state situations. It would seem crack size it is also not known. In fact, it is the object of

important, therefore, to recount at this point what is the endeavor to determine the crack growth rate. Thus,

known in this regard, particularly in view of the fact the integral (30) cannot be evaluated in general and

that viscoelastic responses are synonymous with his- a more general fracture criterion cannot be deduced,

tory effects. The further emphasis of the discussion is except possibly through the formulation of some not-

thus on how a varying load and the current as well as so-trivial integral equation. One is then confronted with

past size(s) of a crack affect its further propagation rate. solving an integral equation numerically.

Two important circumstances which occur very One may examine instead first under what condi-

often in practical situations are not necessarily covered tions the theory for a steadily propagating crack applies

by the above findings: The first question that arises is, to to situations involving transient loads and crack tip

what extent the results for steady state situations speak motion. To this end let σ0 remain constant in agree-

to the processes associated with the initial history or ment with the physically supported result above. Then

start-up transient for crack propagation to occur. The α changes with time according to Eqs. 16 or 17 if K

second is then concerned with the description of how is a function of time, inasmuch as the stress balance at

the transient history of crack growth is governed by the the crack tip should be independent of the viscoelas-

123

128 W. G. Knauss

tic properties. The conditions under which the steady 8.1 Initial crack propagation (crack initiation)

state solution applies to the transient situation can be

deduced (Knauss 1976, 2003). This deduction hinges Before passing to an experimental examination involv-

on the comparison of the term in, say, equation (30), ing non-steady situations it is germane to address the

which determines the influence of the stress intensity problem of “crack initiation”. The sequel does not deal

factor and the contribution derived from a term that with the generation of a (potentially small) new crack

is governed by the rate of change of that quantity. that did not exist previously in an apparent continuum.

Rather than re-deriving that result here, it is stated in the In the present context the terminology “initial crack

following form, namely that the steady state solution propagation” (sometimes referred to as crack initia-

should apply as long as during the propagation history tion) implies the pre-existence of an identifiable crack,

the constraint which begins to propagate as the result of some arbi-

trary history of external loading applied to the cracked

structure. Of interest is then the time elapsed between

K̇ (t) ȧ (t)

(54) the start of the load history (incubation time) and the

K (t) 2α (t) “instant” of first propagation. From an experimental

point of view it may be extremely difficult to ascer-

holds. Apart from the factor 1/2 this formal result tain such an “instant of first propagation” because that

merely represents the heuristically clear statement that distinction typically hinges on the spatial and temporal

differences between a steady state solution and a tran- resolution capability of the available equipment.

sient one arises only if significant24 speed changes To illustrate this point—which will be appreci-

occur during the time interval in which the crack passes ated more fully in connection with the subsequent

through the cohesive zone: The right hand side of the discussions—a load increasing monotonically with

inequality states that the distance traveled by the crack time may generate crack propagation at some time after

tip must be much larger than the cohesive zone size dur- loading has started. It is apparent from the results on

ing the time when the stress intensity factor changes by steady crack growth that the crack will start to prop-

an incremental amount. The relation is identically sat- agate first very slowly. If its speed is too slow to be

isfied for steady state propagation. registered by the observation tools, any crack motion

This relation has been used implicitly or uncon- will only become apparent once the crack has propa-

sciously by several researchers addressing viscoelastic gated for some (unknown) time, so that the real time of

fracture problems, including the writer. However, cau- the start of crack motion cannot be ascertained defini-

tion is in order on two counts: First, it has been pointed tively. Instead, it is the (incidental) observation tool or

out in Sects. 6.2 and 7 that the surprisingly small size method that defines the time of start of crack motion,

of the cohesive zone may be an artifact of the poorly rather than the physical phenomenon. Consequently,

understood nonlinearly viscoelastic behavior of poly- any measurements claiming to record “initiation times”

mers (elastomers). Estimates based on an inequality are typically of times when a crack has attained a crack

like (54) and incorporating an extremely small cohe- speed that can be recorded with the available equipment

sive zone size would justify the application of steady (most often the unaided eye).

state fracture results to non-steady situations all too eas- In spite of such limitations it is important to assess

ily, though possibly inappropriately so. In fact, most the order of magnitude of crack initiation times. If such

load histories encountered in the typical engineering an estimate yields times that are very short compared to

environment would fall into that category. In view of the total fracture time, i.e., when a crack has grown to

the fact that the size of the cohesive zone is not really such large dimensions that it propagates very rapidly

certain it is appropriate that one examine limitations of (“catastrophically”) it may be possible to neglect the

the application of the steady state solution for the crack initiation history relative to the propagation phase. To

propagation problem to non-steady situations through make matters tractable, we limit considerations to a step

experimental means. function increase in the stress intensity factor. There are

at least two estimates that are reasonable to perform:

One is based on achieving a crack tip opening displace-

24 Admittedly, the interpretation of “significant” is rather open. ment commensurate with that required for steady state

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 129

propagation, and the second on the idea that crack prop- large compared to the cohesive zone size, then the ini-

agation has occurred when a crack has propagated the tiation phase seems likely to be unimportant.

length of the cohesive zone (Knauss 1976). In view of

the results for steady crack propagation for which both

the displacement and the energy balance criteria gave 8.2 Additional experimental information

equally satisfactory results, we consider this only under

the assumption of a constant cohesive stress σ0 . The discussion of fracture under transient load condi-

Assessing first the consequence of a crack tip open- tions has involved, so far, no experimental data aimed at

ing displacement criterion one has that a step impo- examining the corroboration of the analytical modeling

sition of a stress intensity factor renders the opening with crack propagation behavior under specific condi-

displacement, subject to u (0, 0, ȧ) = u 0 = constant tions. In an effort to extend this understanding to more

as given in Eq. 28 or 30 with both ȧ and X equal to general situations it is essential to evaluate crack prop-

zero so that the crack tip opening displacement at the agation behavior under less restrictive test conditions.

time of implicitly given crack initiation ti is Here, this is done not so much for providing quantitative

data, but with intention to afford the reader a glimpse of

√

3K α the breadth of time dependent failure behavior of vis-

uy = √ F0 D (ti ) (55)

COD

2π coelastic materials that sets them apart from our normal

understanding of fracture derived from rate-insensitive

which is the same as the elastic solution except that solids.

the elastic compliance (reciprocal of Young’s modulus The results presented so far have tended to sup-

and Poisson’s ratio equal to 1/2) is replaced by the creep port the proposition that the steady state treatment

compliance. Incorporation of the stress finiteness con- is applicable instantaneously in many situations, as

dition (16) results in (A = A (R) as defined in Eq. 18) long as the condition (54) is satisfied. Many presen-

tations, including those by the author, have built on

3F0 A 2 that assumption, thus leaving the feeling that “at least

u y C O D = u 0 = K D (ti ) (56)

4σ0 linearly viscoelastic fracture is “in good shape”. Under

The alternative estimate (Knauss 1976) is afforded by these circumstances it seems prudent to include a series

the argument that the time required to establish a cohe- of experimental results that give pause for thought,

sive zone during steady crack propagation should be while simultaneously allowing an evaluation of how

about the same as that required to establish that zone accurate the current status of prediction is if steady

during initial loading and before propagation.25 If one growth rate behavior is applied under transient condi-

lets that time be the interval during which a crack prop- tions. We start with an analogue of what is often referred

agates the length of the cohesive zone one estimates to in structural engineering circles as “static fatigue”.

from Eq. (34), with ϑ (·, 0) approximated by D (·), and

α = αo = constant that for u y = u 0

8.3 Time-to-failure under constant load (static

3 2 fatigue)

K AF0 D (ti ) = σ0 u 0 (57)

4

Time dependent failure is often studied in the labora-

This is identical with the first estimate. tory via tension tests under different but time-invariant

Now recall that the size of the cohesive zone as loads, with the interest on the time passed between ini-

derived from matching the theoretical developments tial loading and final failure/rupture. We consider this

to experimental data, is very small indeed, even if the test in the form of a viscoelastic sheet containing an ini-

nonlinear viscoelastic response is considered in its size tial crack, where the sheet represents the macroscopic

assessment (see Sect. 7.3). Thus, if one is concerned specimen and the predetermined crack an invariably

with the growth of a crack for which the extension is existing initial flaw. For the moment we presume that

this flaw is always of the same size; discussion of its sta-

25 See also (Schapery 1975a, b, c, II); there the same argument tistical variability is reserved for later in this chapter.

is implied if not stated. It is of interest to determine the growth of a crack—

123

130 W. G. Knauss

a constant cohesive zone size, rather than the constant

cohesive stress; moreover, while the same material is

nominally involved here as for the results delineated in

Figs. 3, 4 and Figs. 10, 11, 12 the detailed production

process for these solids had evolved since the data in

Figs. 16 and 17 were acquired. However for the data in

Fig. 17 at least the long-term modulus was determined

for each individual test specimen. On the other hand,

if one applies the theory involving the use of the con-

stant cohesive stress (Knauss 1973b) along with the full

modulus function as appropriate for Fig. 12, the dashed

line results.26

coelastic sheet under constant tension load (see insert in Fig. 17) 8.4 Rapid crack propagation under “step loading”

using the steady state crack propagation equation—for

ments the immediately following experimental work,

a centrally cracked sheet.

it seems appropriate for reasons of completeness to

It can be easily shown that the criterion (54) for the

include the crack propagation behavior in a strip

applicability of the steady state results to this config-

strained so rapidly (and at an appropriate temperature)

uration and loading is always satisfied as long√ as the that the stress fields throughout the specimen and at

stress intensity factor is given by K (t) = σ∞ π · a(t)

the propagating crack tip experience relaxation. Based

for the average stress σ∞ so that

on the simple idea that the magnitude of the crack tip

stresses determines the crack propagation rate should

K̇ ȧ (t) then result in a decreasing rate of crack growth as the

= (58)

K 2a (t) relaxation process proceeds. This simple observation

seems indeed confirmed experimentally. Straining a

which clearly satisfies (54) as long as α(t)

a(t). strip specimen (c.f. Fig. 9) by means of a pressur-

Figure 16 compares the computed growth history ized gas-hydraulic system allows rapid loading with

with an experimentally determined crack length his- rise times on the order of 10 milliseconds. Effecting

tory. It is clear that at some time the growth accelerates such loading at 5 ◦ C places the deformation history into

tremendously, which time may be used as a “failure- the transition range of the relaxation modulus or com-

time” of the sheet specimen. If one repeats this kind of pliance as indicated in Fig. 3; it is then clear that the

computation and measurement for the same geometry ensuing crack propagation behavior occurs during the

but with different far-field stress amplitudes one obtains relaxation phase of the specimen.

the corresponding failure times shown in Fig. 17. Note The corresponding crack propagation rates are

that although the detailed, computed growth curve in depicted in Fig. 18 for two (time-invariant) strain val-

Fig. 16 does not follow the data precisely, though rea- ues. As expected, the propagation rate decreases on

sonably closely, the over all failure behavior, illus- average as relaxation progresses with time. However,

trated in Fig. 17, is quite acceptable. Although discus- this decrease in crack speed is clearly not smoothly

sions for possible reasons of the observed discrepancies uniform or necessarily monotonic, but associated with

can, most likely, be traced to the uncertainty revolving considerable, unsteady variations around a decreasing

around the size of the cohesive zone; further discus- mean. This unsteady behavior is, most likely, the result

sion on this point would be too extensive to fit into the of the simultaneous interaction of the global relaxation

review character of this presentation.

It is appropriate, however, to point out that the result 26 Note that this latter trace is essentially the same as that fitted

represented by the solid line in Fig. 17 is based on to the same data by Schapery (1975c).

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 131

(sheet) specimen under

constant tension. The

parameters σ f represents

the far-field stress and σg∞

the elastic “Griffith stress”

based on the long-term

elastic modulus (from

Knauss 1970). For

identification of the solid

and dashed lines see the

following text

in a strip geometry of

Solithane 113 at 5 ◦ C,

following a rapid step

application of the strain

and the changes in the stress field as the crack propa- the two traces the slightly higher strain gives rise to

gates in spurts, giving rise to locally rapid unloading slower propagation rates, which is clearly in contrast

and associated viscoelastic effects on the advancing to the (steady–state) theory outlined above if not on the

crack tip stress field. To what extent this instability basis of common sense. In this regard one notes that

phenomenon is associated with the evolution history this record may be another demonstration of unstable

of the cohesive zone during unstable crack growth is crack growth: During the initial portion of the growth

not clear. Additional attention will be devoted to this history, crack propagation was so rapid that it could

topic in Sect. 9. not be recorded with the instrumentation used; because

The two propagation histories shown are for differ- of this rapidity, a large unloading signal was quickly

ent strain amplitudes. It may appear surprising that of transmitted to the specimen and resulted in subse-

123

132 W. G. Knauss

under constant strain (left

data set) and constant strain

rate (right data set). Curves

represent data fits without

direct theory implications

quently slower crack propagation, possibly influenced Figure 19 shows27 results of two sets of measure-

by the crack reaching the edge of the specimen, where ments: In the left part of the figure the results of

the crack tip conditions are no longer independent of crack growth under time-invariant strain prescription

the crack tip position. In concluding this brief section is shown for a range of temperatures. In the right part

it is thus worthwhile to remember that complicated of that figure the results of the constant-strain-rate load

failure histories can result when general time depen- histories are given. Because the range of velocities in

dent stress fields interact with the history of unload- these tests were indeed very large the choice was made

ing or loading as a result of a rapidly advancing crack to record the crack growth history cinematographically,

tip. which emphasized the higher velocity range compared

to that recorded for the constant-strain data. Two obser-

vations28 are apparent.

One first notes that comparable strain amplitudes

8.5 Crack growth under constant strain rate

give rise to velocities that are higher under constant-

rate conditions than for constant strain (considering the

A standard test in engineering circles employs con-

comparison for data at identical temperatures). While

stant deformation rates imposed on uniaxial test spec-

one might argue that the constant-strain-rate data repre-

imens in typical test machines. Because the growth of

sent a natural extension of the steady crack growth data,

a crack in a “side-cracked” tensile specimen depends

it is also clear that the slopes of the second data set is not

on both the time dependent load or strain and on the

consistent with those for the steady crack-growth rates:

changing crack geometry, it is again prudent to employ

All appearances of the latter indicate that the higher

the strip geometry (Fig. 9), thus reducing a possi-

strains produce higher velocities with an approach to an

bly influential parameter; this will be considered for

upper asymptote. Thus all higher constant-strain results

constant strain conditions (steady crack growth rate)

indicate decreasing slopes with higher velocities, but

and for increasing the strain at a constant rate so that

the constant-strain-rate data does not fit into this pat-

the stresses and strains in the test configuration vary

tern.

in a predictable manner. If the steady state solution

were to apply, the constant strain rate data should be 27 These results were obtained with the same polyurethane mate-

identical to those obtained under constant strains or rial characterized in Figs. 14, 15 and 16.

should at least complement those data in a consistent 28 A third observation might be that these test results parallel

manner. those for the swollen material.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 133

(stress intensity factor) for the constant-strain-rate tests

were determined by the long-term or rubbery behavior

of the material. The question arises thus whether the

differences may be the result of residual viscoelastic

effects on the stresses in the crack tip region, so that

“elastic” conditions do not prevail even approximately.

Yet, for all the temperatures employed and the time

frames involved in the tests the material should be con-

sidered to have been globally well within the rubbery

state. What has not been taken into account specifically,

however, is whether the magnification of the local strain

rates at the crack tip can have a significant influence. To

assess this possibility requires the solution of a crack

propagating with arbitrary velocity into a continuously

changing stress field, a situation that with computer

capabilities of the time when these measurements were

made, posed a non-trivial problem. The same question

arises in connection with the next topic (fatigue), and

must thus remain an open question at this time and be

left to future investigations. Fig. 20 Crack propagation history in a strip geometry under

cyclic loading at a temperature of 38 ◦ C above the glass transi-

tion. The solid curve represents the velocity estimate based on

8.6 Crack growth under cyclic deformations (fatigue) instantaneous strain value. Solithane 133 elastomer (50/50)

state results apply under the conditions prescribed by

Eq. 54 may be effected via cyclically variable load towards a later comparison, note that the ordinate rep-

histories, while still adhering first to the simple strip resents incremental crack growth and not velocity. Note

geometry so as to minimize the time dependence intro- also, that these tests were conducted at 30 ◦ C (58 ◦ C

duced by a changing stress field as a result of the chang- above Tg ) and in a time frame measured in seconds;

ing crack size. Two figures illustrate the improbability the globally viscoelastic behavior should thus fall well

that one may adhere strictly to the idea that the steady- within the rubbery domain, so that normally, the load-

state solution applies instantaneously. First, if the latter ing history should not give rise to significant if any

idea were to hold, one should observe that in cyclical global viscoelastic effects.

strain history any crack propagation history should be Two features are apparent: One, the average exten-

in phase with the strain history. That is clearly not the sion rate decreases with time for both strain histories,

case as demonstrated in Fig. 20. In fact, at 58 ◦ C above which would be in keeping with the decay of global (or

the glass transition there exist notable phase shifts in local) stress transients resulting from a sin (t)-strain

the crack propagation data relative to the strain history. history that starts at time zero. Second, and this fea-

In this case the one-cycle-per-second responds most ture restates the findings in Fig. 20, the frequency has

closely to the instantaneous estimate. But, apart from a strong effect on the crack propagation rate: Clearly

that observation, the higher frequencies lead consis- a 40 % increase in the frequency reduces the average

tently to systematic and distinct decreases in propaga- crack speed by about a factor of two, other test parame-

tion rates ters remaining the same. This set of data offers thus the

A complementary set of data, following the evolu- strongest cautionary note that the use of the steady state

tion of the crack propagation under start-up of cyclic solution for transient crack propagation behavior must

deformation is given in Fig. 21, where zero-time cor- be employed with caution or, as an estimation tool, be

responds to the beginning of first loading. With a view recognized as an approximation.

123

134 W. G. Knauss

stress intensity and frequency in a strip geometry at 20 ◦ C. Sheet

thickness = 2.5 mm. Solithane 113 elastomer (50/50)

of time for two frequencies. Solithane 113 elastomer (50/50);

sheet thickness 0.03 in. strated in the following set of data, which uses the

same material underlying the above strain cycle stud-

ies, but employs a side-notched sheet geometry, for

In this context it may be illuminating to recall that which the dimensions have been chosen so as to min-

Schapery (1962) had proposed an approximate solu- imize changes of the stress intensity factor with crack

tion method for viscoelastic boundary value problems growth (Chang 1983). In this case measurements were

called the “quasi-elastic method”. This method applies recorded after the initial transients had presumably died

to situations that are rather akin to step-type loadings, out.

but is distinctly not applicable for problems driven by The data in Fig. 22 was acquired in a strip geometry

cyclical loads (see Knauss 2003, p. 405) for more expla- after the start-up transients had, apparently subsided,

nation). It is likely that the differences one experiences and demonstrates again the distinct effect which fre-

here in connection with crack propagation under cyclic quency has on the growth-rate per cycle, da/dN. How-

loading deviates also considerably from that associated ever, when one employs the average time-rate of crack

with “simpler” boundary loads such as step loading. propagation da/dt in place of the cycle-number rate (dt

These observations of a somewhat complicated ∼ time per cycle), as in Fig. 23, the data collapse into

crack propagation response to cyclical loading has an an almost single trace, though there is a residue of sys-

important corollary: In the context of metal fatigue— tematic differences. This residue may be due to the fact

which is usually rather insensitive to or independent that at the higher cycling rates the heat generated in the

of rate-of-deformations—crack growth rates are typi- highly stressed material at the crack tip has less time to

cally rendered as a function of the number of cycles. dissipate and thus thermorheological effects play a role;

In fact, the use of high frequency testing allows a the “small” difference accounting for the data spread

relatively fast acquisition of fatigue fracture data for in Fig. 23 could arise also from a temperature differ-

metals. That this phenomenon is not directly trans- ence on the order of only 2 ◦ C. Nevertheless, it is clear

ferable to viscoelastic materials is readily demon- that the interpretation is near at hand that in viscoelas-

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 135

Fig. 24 Pressure pulse profile (voltage record) for high rate frac-

ture attempt. Rise time ≈10−14 µs for these types of tests

tory for which the steady solution to viscoelastic

crack propagation clearly breaks down we consider the

Fig. 23 The same data as in Fig. 22 plotted as the crack growth

application of loading a specimen with a stress pulse

per cycle period; the data collapses into virtually the same rela- applied to the surfaces of a crack in the timeframe of

tionship microseconds. Drawing on dynamic fracture investiga-

tions related to brittle solids, conducted in cooperation

with K. Ravi-Chandar, the current editor of this jour-

tic fatigue29 it is the time-rate of crack propagation, or

nal, an electromagnetic loading device (Ravi-Chandar

rather “the time under elevated stress” that determines

and Knauss 1982, 1984a, b) was used to pressurize the

the average growth rate, and not simply how often the

flanks of a crack in a sheet of Solithane 113 with a time

crack front is stressed into the failure domain.

history illustrated in Fig. 24. Typically, a rise time on the

A final comment regarding the consistency of

order of 10 µs was achieved to drive the crack towards

Figs. 20, 21, 22 and 23. If the “time at load” were

propagation. However, in spite of sizeable stress ampli-

always the primary rule governing fatigue crack propa-

tudes achieved for these short durations, it was never

gation then the two traces in Fig. 21 should be reducible

possible to propagate a crack. While cracks in brittle

to (nearly) the same so that the average velocities are

solids like Homalite 100 possessing a Young’s mod-

the same. That is apparently not correct to the degree

ulus of 4550 MPa (for properties see Ravi-Chandar

that the data in Figs. 22 and 23 are reducible. How-

and Knauss 1982) propagated under an initial stress

ever, this may well be the difference that arises from √

intensity on the order of 0.5 MPa m, similar load-

the fact that the data in Fig. 21 derive from a (transient)

ing amplitudes could never propagate a crack in the

start-up history, while the data in Figs. 22 and 23 do

elastomer at room temperatures. For comparison, the

not involve this early transient history. Whether that is

rubbery Young’s modulus of Solithane 113 is between

also partially the result of different material properties,

2.75 and 3.5 MPa compared to 4550 MPa for Homa-

(different material batches) is not clear.

lite, and the glassy Young’s modulus of Solithane 113

29 It is clear from the context that these results are applicable to

is only 370 MPa, still less by a factor in excess of 10

the fatigue of rubber. In the context of the fatigue of structural than that for Homalite 100. It should be noted that the

plastics, which demonstrate yield-like, though time dependent, rise time of the pressure pulse device (∼10 µs) should

behavior, one would ask whether a similar behavior prevails. place the Solithane 113 response into or very close to

Gregory and Botsis (1991) have shown for polystyrene at room

temperatures that, similar to the situation for the elastomer here,

the glassy domain at 20 ◦ C if one does not account for

the time-based growth rate rather than that based on the numbers the shift in intrinsic time scales occasioned by the high

of cycles leads to a more unified presentation. dilatation at the crack tip discussed in Sect. 7.3.

123

136 W. G. Knauss

speed camera records

(100,000 frames per

second), 10 µs apart (image

proliferation downward in

1st column, then downward

in 2nd and 3rd columns)

Figure 25 presents a sequence of images from a test separation distance between the legs by the invers of

conducted under these conditions: The initially gray the separation distance squared: The net result of these

areas at the top and bottom of each frame represent the experiments was that at 20 ◦ C none of these high rate

as yet unstressed domain giving way to fully stressed loading scenarios could provide any observable crack

(black) areas in the later images. In the initial frame propagation! To pursue some understanding of this fact

only very little separation of the crack surfaces is evi- one must recognize that the time scale of 10 µs brings

dent, but grows in each successive frame. The legs of the (50/50) composition of Solithane 113 material just

the doubled-up copper strip carrying the current are ini- about to the middle of the transition zone at 20 ◦ C30 not

tially separated by a thin Mylar insulator, not clearly taking into account the higher rates experienced at the

identifiable in any early image but probably part of the crack tip. On the other hand, as discussed in Sect. 7.3

central dark line in the middle of the opening crack and one must consider that the dilatation at the crack tip pro-

ejected during the further separation of the crack faces. vides for an additional “equivalent temperature rise” on

The copper driver strip evolves into a buckled config- the order of 30 ◦ C.

uration during this sequence because the separation of Because the time frame of these tests was able

the legs of the folded strip experienced longitudinal to clearly achieve dynamic fracture with this loading

tension (left–right) which is converted to compression apparatus in a glassy polyester at room temperature

on reflection at the connections to the capacitor banks. (Ravi-Chandar and Knauss 1984a, b) it was natural to

What is important to recognize is that (a) the crack ask whether increasing the loading rate (or equiva-

front opens up to significant deformations during this lently lowering the temperature)31 could achieve frac-

sequence, and (b) that these deformations arise from 30At 20 ◦ C the middle of the transition zone is close to a

the initial impulse provided by the electro-dynamic

microsecond.

force, because the force exerted on the crack faces by 31 At the time of these tests there existed doubt whether the

the legs of the folded copper strip decreases with the time–temperature equivalence principle could be extended to

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 137

ture. Consequently the Solithane material was retested capability under moderate stress loading: In contrast

at about −90 ◦ C, and indeed fracture occurred as it did to the Solithane 113 material illustrated to this point,

in the glassy polyester material. The crack speed was and which produces considerable rates of crack growth

comparable to that in glassy polymers (about 400 m/s) (in a strip geometry) under strains of a few percent,

and fracture surface was completely tiled with conic the material to be considered here next can experience

marks similar to that observed in the glassy polymer, strains of a few tens of percent in the same geometry.

polymethymethacrylate (see Yang and Ravi-Chandar In keeping with the objective to illustrate that use of

1997, for a brief description of these experiments). The the instantaneous application of the crack propagation

net message to gather from these experiments is that Equations 37 or 39 may not be universally permissible,

polymeric solids will fracture in possibly widely dif- it is of interest to examine the start-up behavior of a

ferent manners depending on either the temperature or crack, specifically also in the test configuration shown

the loading rate conditions. In particular it bears empha- in Fig. 3b. For the following data presentation the strain

sizing that a solid that possess elastomeric properties across the strip has been applied rapidly in a time frame

at atmospheric conditions can/will behave like a brittle of a second or less to reach its maximum value in the

solid at sufficiently high loading rates or sufficiently range of (nominally) 25–40 %. Figures 26 and 27 show

low temperatures, while the converse is likely to hold representative crack propagation responses.

for glassy polymers at sufficiently high temperatures One notes first that there are transient histories with

and/or low deformation rates. The generality of this distinctly different time scales besides eventually lead-

statement is likely to be limited, however, by whether ing to different average propagation velocities. It is not

the polymer is of the cross-linked or uncross-linked clear why the “average” velocity in Fig. 27 should

type. achieve a relative minimum around the time frame

which did not correspond to the crack-tip being in the

middle of the specimen along the large dimension; it is

9 Some observations with an elastomer of higher thus not likely to be dictated by the instantaneous spec-

compliance imen geometry. It may have more to do with the statis-

tical nature of the evolvement of the crack-tip region, a

Having explored whether the proposition that the crack sequence for which is shown in Fig. 28 (Knauss 1963,

propagation theory advanced in the form of Eqs. 37 1965)

or 39 applies “instantaneously“ in non-steady crack Because the HC rubber was not transparent, only

propagation histories—at least for a particular solid— shadowgraphs could be recorded in Fig. 28 so that the

let us turn to experimental results derived from a mate- evolution of the cohesive material could be recorded

rial that has obviously different viscoelastic properties, only after the major deterioration in the crack tip inte-

than the material associated with the discussion to this rior region had occurred. Nevertheless, this sequence

point. Specifically, one is interested in considering sit- shows that there is a sizeable time scale during which

uations when the condition that limits the stress inten- the detailed crack-tip geometry changes and that this

sity rate relative to the cohesive zone size, equation 54, time scale is consistent with the variations in Figs. 26

is not fulfilled. To illustrate that there may be a wide and 27.

range of material responses in regard to these ques- Next one observes that the time to achieve some

tions let us consider experimental results for a moder- level of semi-steady crack propagation varies greatly

ately cross-linked HC rubber,32 used in the past as a with the applied strain, being on the order of 1300 sec-

binder for solid propellant rocket fuels (see Sect. 1). onds in Fig. 26 and of only 200 s in Fig. 27. In both cases

This material distinguished itself through large strain there exists an accelerating characteristic for the initial

crack growth, which is arguably associated with estab-

Footnote 31 continued lishing a cohesive zone. That this generation process

time scales as short as those employed in these tests. It has been depends on the (instantaneous?) speed of crack prop-

demonstrated in the meantime, that at least in the context of small

deformation viscoelasticity this procedure is justifiable (Zhao

agation is evident from the surface roughness appear-

et al. 2007). ance associated with various crack speeds (and cor-

32 Hydro-Carbon elastomer produced by the Thiokol Corpora- responding gross stress) as shown in the three exam-

tion. ples of Fig. 29 and resulting from crack speeds vary-

123

138 W. G. Knauss

history in HC rubber under

2.0

a “step strain” of 21.5 %,

ending in an average

2.0 1.5

velocity on the order of

10−3 in./s. The time scale 1.0

1.5

comparison with the data in 0.5

the fully available time 0.0

history of 3750 s 1.0 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000

Time, sec

0.5

0.0

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000

Time, sec

history in HC rubber under

a “step strain” of 28.6 %, 7

ending in an average

Crack-tip velocity, in/1000 sec

velocity of about 6

5 × 10−3 in./s with the same

time frame as for Fig. 26 5

(not for the insert)

4

0

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000

Time, sec

Fig. 28 Sequence of a

typical crack-tip appearance

at an approximate

propagation speed of

0.25 mm/min. Each frame

covers a length of about

5 mm along the left–right

axis and is separated by

about 15 s

ing between 10−3 and 103 in./min. The highest crack ness argued for the cohesive zone to be very small. It

speed generates a surface that is mostly glass-like and is similarly rational to associate the roughness appear-

devoid of major roughness; (recall that the Solithane ance here with the fracture process being concentrated

113 typically produced mirror like fracture surface at into a very small cohesive zone where random fluctua-

all velocities observed, and that this (lack of) rough- tions in the location of failure sites within that zone are

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 139

Fig. 29 Roughness

appearance of fracture

surfaces generated in

HC-Thiokol rubber at crack

speeds of (from left to right)

10−3 , 100 and 103 in./min.

Crack propagation

orientation is from bottom

to top

propagation in HC rubber as

a function of the gross stress

on a strip geometry (c.f.

Fig. 9). The solid line is a

curve fit, no theoretical

implication

minimized. On the other hand, for the rougher case(s) gross load, (in the linear sense proportional to the stress

associated with slower velocities the failure process intensity factor) for the test strip geometry in Fig. 9

is distributed over a larger domain so that more fail- (Knauss 1963).

ure sites develop throughout that domain, but at lower Let us first consider a numerical study involving

stress levels. a damage-controlled cohesive zone in a viscoelastic

Simply stated, these observations assert that—for fracture problem. This examination of (non-dynamic)

this material—a cohesive zone shrinks with increased crack propagation in a primarily linearly viscoelastic

crack propagation speed accompanying higher stresses/ medium involves cohesive forces at the crack tip which

loads. Though the three images may be insufficient to are governed by the development of voids in the crack

establish whether this dependence is monotonic with tip region (Knauss and Losi 1993) and which grew as a

the speed or the stress intensity factor, this finding is function of the local stresses. That model also delivered

directly opposite to what the model delineated in the a decreasing cohesive zone size as the crack speed (or

previous sections asserts and which corroborates exper- the stress intensity increases factor) increased, though

imentally with the Solithane 113 material. For later ref- the size of the cohesive zone was not monotonic with

erence we include here in Fig. 30 the measurements of the increase in stress intensity over the whole crack

the crack speed in this HC rubber as a function of the speed range considered. This result is illustrated in

123

140 W. G. Knauss

crack growth behavior in viscoelastic solids, it seems

appropriate to conclude this review of fracture of

(mostly linearly) viscoelastic solids with a discussion

of the possible sources of random variations in fail-

ure behavior from the viewpoint of crack growth. This

discussion follows purely analytical lines on the pre-

sumption that the physical observations are commonly

known.

Referring to Eqs. 35–39, it is clear that the mate-

rial parameters which influence crack growth are (a)

the creep compliance (as well as the bulk modulus or

Poisson’s ratio, for isotropic materials), (b) the fracture

energy (or the crack opening displacement), and (c)

the cohesive stress σ0 . Normally one thinks of struc-

tures as being unflawed, yet one knows that flaws of

statistically distributed degrees or sizes always exist.

As a consequence one must consider the stress intensity

Fig. 31 Size of the cohesive zone as a function of the stress factor as a statistical variable even though the applied

intensity factor for a nonlinear material strip along the crack (far-field or average) stress may be deterministic. The

path

effects of combining variations in all these parame-

ters can be very perplexing. For example, the variation

Fig. 31, were the cohesive zone is normalized by the in the creep compliance (or relaxation modulus) may

height “h” representing the thickness of the nonlinear affect separately the long time behavior (i. e., D∞ or

layer along the crack axis; the stress intensity factor is E ∞ ) as well as the retardation spectrum, which in turn

normalized by the glassy modulus of the viscoelastic determines the rate of creep in the transition zone, and

solid and the square root of the layer thickness. the short time or glassy behavior. In the sequel it is

In closing this section on crack propagation in assumed that the creep compliance is not subject to sta-

softer elastomers this discussion has been included tistical variations. Rather, we consider the effect of the

here to demonstrate that for certain viscoelastic mate- remaining parameters , σ0 and K . The fracture para-

rial behaviors it is quite likely that results differing meters and σ0 are related through the microstructure

from those achieved with the polyurethane elastomer of the material. At this time it is not known what that

Solithane 113. relation is. If one assumes that the two parameters vary

independently one can estimate the variation of the time

dependent failure.

In the absence of inertial effects let the time of failure

10 Statistical aspects of fracture in viscoelastic of a centrally perforated sheet (see insert in Fig. 17) be

materials determined as the time when the crack begins to prop-

agate with infinite (very large) velocity as illustrated

One of the recurring questions in failure analysis of in Fig. 16. The example considered in connection with

structures is that of reliability. It often appears that the discussion on static fatigue in Sect. 8.3 illustrated

polymers exhibit less predictive failure behavior than that the crack propagation Eqs. 35 and 37 apply reason-

the usual engineering materials, because in viscoelas- ably well instantaneously if the suddenly applied global

tic materials sizeable experimental scatter commonly stress σ∞ is small compared to the cohesive stress σ0 ;

marks the time component of the failure process. This their integration for the crack size history as a func-

behavior instills a lack of reliability into engineering tion of time yields thus the failure time of the sheet,

data and analysis, which is, however, without doubt t ∗ . This is shown as the solid line in Fig. 32 for the

most often due to the lack of attention given to the time Solithane 113 elastomer illustrated before. A change

dependence effects of the fracture process. in shifts the curve along the ordinate, a change in

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 141

Fig. 32 Effect of variations in the fracture energy and in the Here the deviation form the mean curve is also considered sep-

cohesive stress on the failure time of a cracked sheet. A change arately for both quanitities. σr e f corresponds to the lower limit

in shifts the curve along the ordinate, a change in σ0 along of failure for a crack of a fixed size. ΦT is the shift factor for the

the abscissa if both quantities are considered to be independent. thermorheologically simple material (Knauss 1976)

σ0 along the abscissa if both quantities are considered flaws will break almost immediately (or even before

to be independent. The deviation from the mean curve one has been able to apply the load fully). It is thus evi-

is considered only separately for both quanitities, each dent that the shape of the distribution of failure times

by ±20 %. σr e f corresponds to a stress which, for long depends on the stress level, a rather symmetric distri-

times (t ∗ → ∞), just barely produces failure in a sheet bution of initial flaws becoming highly skewed in real

containing a crack of 0.025 mm (0.001 in.) in length. time. Moreover, it is important in the context of fracture

Initial flaw sizes vary statistically in all structures mechanics to recognize that this distribution change is

and materials, thereby changing the initial stress inten- a direct consequence of the time dependent growth rate

sity factor when identical global loads are applied. In of cracks in the viscoelastic material.

Fig. 33 the effect of variable initial crack size on the fail- It should be pointed out, however, that in many

ure time of a sheet is demonstrated. Again, the sheet is applications one is only interested in a relatively nar-

considered to be loaded by a step stress in time, applied row range of stress levels σ∞ or failure times. In that

normal to the crack orientation. The inset plot provides case variations in the shape of the failure time distri-

the distribution of initial flaw sizes and the sigmoidal bution would be relatively small; this is confirmed by

curve spanning the graphs is the same as the central, the investigation of Halpin and Polley (1967) who dealt

heavy curve in Fig. 32. with the statistics of rupture in the rubbery or long time

Superposed on that sigmoidal curve are the distrib- range.

utions of failure times t ∗ one would experience in an

ensemble of sheet specimens having the indicated dis-

tribution of initial flaws. When σ = σr e f , an initial 11 Closure: nonlinearly viscoelastic fracture

flaw size of 0.025 mm will just barely produce fail- mechanics

ure; for all specimens having smaller cracks no failure

will occur. As the applied stress is increased all speci- The forgoing has presented a review of the current sta-

mens fail eventually (small initial cracks giving rise to tus of the fundamentals regarding fracture in viscoelas-

long failure times, large ones to short failure times). As tic materials. Reference to viscoelastic materials has

the applied stress approaches large values (uppermost implied time-dependent fracture, generally conceived

distribution of failure times) the specimens with large or viewed as time-dependent crack propagation, even

123

142 W. G. Knauss

Fig. 33 Effect of a

distribution of initial crack

sizes in sheet specimens on

the failure times of a

specimen ensemble of,

shown at three different

stress levels (Knauss 1976)

in the absence of inertial effects controlling or con- ear properties problem can be solved in some generality

tributing to crack propagation. The review has been is not certain at this time.

mostly limited to the use of linearly viscoelastic mate- Simple “Ansätze” for these possibilities exist33

rial description, essentially because the formulation through the work of Brown and coworkers (Brown and

of nonlinearly viscoelastic materials is in a state of Bhattacharya 1985; Lu et al. 1988; Wang and Brown

infancy. The cursory peruser of the open literature will, 1989) for a semi-crystalline material (polyethylene),

no doubt, meet with numerous publications concerned and for crazing solids (e.g. Polystyrene and Poly-

with nonlinearly viscoelastic behavior, offering vari- carbonate) through the crack layer model discussed

ous forms of material descriptions. Most of these are by Chudnovsky and collaborators (Chudnovsky et al.

one dimensional in character and without potential for 1983; Botsis et al. 1987a, b; Kadota and Chudnovsky

generalization to three- or even two-dimensional stress 1992; Kim et al. 1993). These studies are rooted in

states. Accordingly, the time dependent fracture behav- experimental observations with a limited correlation to

ior of structural amorphous or semi-crystalline poly- analytical developments. On the other side of the coin

mers is not supported by nearly a similar degree of ana- are the more analytical studies that illustrate what the

lytical understanding available for linearly viscoelastic consequences of certain postulated nonlinear constitu-

fracture mechanics, however limited that framework tive behavior should be for crack propagation problems,

still may be at this time. without, however, paralleling these developments with

The essence of current linearly viscoelastic models thorough experimental counterparts. In this category

is based on the dissipation of energy throughout the we find the studies by Schapery (1968, 1969, 1990)

small region surrounding the immediate crack tip in who has primarily and implicitly addressed the near-

motion. This dissipation depends on the rate of crack rubbery range of nonlinear material behavior, with-

propagation. Nonlinear models must cope with the evo- out providing estimates or guides for the range of

lution of a zone of locally unstable material, that is applicability: The pertinent material data do not seem

similar to a line zone of plastically yielding material to exist in the printed literature. A further example of

with an as yet unspecified time-dependent character- a two-domain nonlinearly viscoelastic crack propaga-

istic, and is, in general, stress-history dependent. This tion model has been offered computationally by Knauss

line zone is surrounded by a domain of less disturbed and Losi (1993) through the use of a nonlinear vis-

but possibly “craze”-damaged material that possesses coelasticity model based on free volume arguments

viscoelastic properties at a different time scale, and it

33 It is not really possible to do justice to the cited contributions

is the interaction between these two types of nonlin-

in such a cursory manner. However, in the interest of providing a

ear material zones that is responsible for the rate of

very brief introduction is offered to this particular topic through

crack propagation. Whether this dual-zone and nonlin- the subsequent references.

123

A review of fracture in viscoelastic materials 143

coupled to disintegration studies by Parvin and Knauss Brown N, Bhattacharya SK (1985) The initiation of slow crack

(1990) without, however, connecting this to any spe- growth in linear polyethylene under single edge notch ten-

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