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Issue 5, 2017
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Fracture of a model cohesive granular material

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Abstract

We study experimentally the fracture mechanisms of a model cohesive granular medium consisting of glass beads held together by solidified polymer bridges. The elastic response of this material can be controlled by changing the cross-linking of the polymer phase, for example. Here we show that its fracture toughness can be tuned over an order of magnitude by adjusting the stiffness and size of the polymer bridges. We extract a well-defined fracture energy from fracture testing under a range of material preparations. This energy is found to scale linearly with the cross-sectional area of the bridges. Finally, X-ray microcomputed tomography shows that crack propagation is driven by adhesive failure of about one polymer bridge per bead located at the interface, along with microcracks in the vicinity of the failure plane. Our findings provide insight into the fracture mechanisms of this model material, and the mechanical properties of disordered cohesive granular media in general.

Graphical abstract: Fracture of a model cohesive granular material

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Nov 2016, accepted on 03 Jan 2017 and first published on 04 Jan 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM02600A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 1040-1047
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Fracture of a model cohesive granular material

    A. Schmeink, L. Goehring and A. Hemmerle, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 1040
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SM02600A

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