The Mechanics and the Physics of high rate deformation and fracture is the central theme of the Dynamic Fracture Laboratory. The Dynamic Fracture Laboratory was started within the Materials Mechanics Laboratory in 1994 by D. Rittel, to address specific issues in dynamic fracture mechanics and stress wave physics. Since then, the Dynamic Fracture Laboratory has been actively developing new tools and techniques to address these issues.
Previous studies concerned dynamic crack initiation based on the one-point impact technique. Various mode mixities were considered and the importance of thermo- mechanical couplig at the crack-tip was assessed using miniature thermocouples. The dynamic thermo-mechanical behavior of materials (metals and polymers) is investigated using our recently developed Shear Compression Specimen (SCS). This includes adiabatic shear failure, as a key dynamic failure mechanism. Geophysical materials, such as magma, are also under current investigation. Another aspect of our work addresses scaling aspects of the response of structures that are subjected to large-scale, close-range explosions. Structural reliability is also of nterest to the group, through advanced non-destructive techniques, such as the AC Potential Drop Technique and the characterization of edge effects for Structural Health Monitoring of joints.
For all our activities, a strong emphasis is put on the physics of failure, including materialographic and SEM characterization of the failure micromechanisms. Numerical modeling is routinely used to “fine tune” or develop new experiments, as well as part of hybrid experimental-numerical approaches.