Nucleation of cracks in a brittle sheet

Cristiano L. Dias, Jens Kröger, Daniel Vernon, Martin Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We use molecular dynamics to study the nucleation of cracks in a two-dimensional material without pre-existing cracks. We study models with zero and nonzero shear moduli. In both situations, the time required for crack formation obeys an Arrhenius law, from which the energy barrier and prefactor are extracted for different system sizes. For large systems, the characteristic time of rupture is found to decrease with system size, in agreement with classical Weibull theory. In the case of zero shear modulus, the energy opposing rupture is identified with the breakage of a single atomic bond. In the case of nonzero shear modulus, thermally activated fracture can only be studied within a reasonable time at very high strains. In this case, the energy barrier is much higher compared to the zero shear modulus case. This barrier is understood within adiabatic simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number066109
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 11 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Nucleation of cracks in a brittle sheet'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this