Subcritical crack growth and other time- and environment-dependent behavior in crustal rocks

Published on Jun 10, 1984in Journal of Geophysical Research
· DOI :10.1029/JB089IB06P04137
Peter L. Swanson2
Estimated H-index: 2
Stable crack growth strongly influences both the fracture strength of brittle rocks and some of the phenomena precursory to catastrophic failure. Quantification of the time and environment dependence of fracture propagation is attempted with the use of a fracture mechanics technique. Some of the difficulties encountered when applying techniques originally developed for simple synthetic materials to complex materials like rocks are examined. A picture of subcritical fracture propagation is developed that embraces the essential ingredients of the microstructure, a microcrack process zone, and the different roles that the environment plays. To do this, the results of (1) fracture mechanics experiments on five rock types, (2) optical and scanning electron microscopy, (3) studies of microstructural aspects of fracture in ceramics, and (4) exploratory tests examining the time-dependent response of rock to the application of water are examined.
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