A simple fracture mechanics approach for assessing ductile crack growth in soil

PD Hallett*, TA Newson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The weak understanding of crack growth mechanisms in ductile soil is addressed by testing a new fracture mechanics approach. Samples are fractured using a deep-notch (3-point) bend test, with data on sample bending, crack growth, and crack mouth opening collected to assess the crack opening angle (COA), the crack tip opening angle (CTOA), and plastic energy dissipation rate (D-pt). The test variables are clay and salinity content, with samples formed from mixtures of kaolinite and fine sand. The CTOA and D-pl detect differences in fracture mechanics due to clay, but not salinity. The energy needed to drive crack extension, D-pl, is one order of magnitude higher for samples containing a ratio of sand to kaolinite of 75:25, as compared with 50:50. However, the CTOA due to plasticity was 0.19 and 0.24 for the same samples respectively, indicating that more strain is needed for crack growth in the specimens with more clay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1088
Number of pages6
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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