Abstract: The observed repulsive behavior of two initially collinear cracks growing towards each other and leading to a hook-shaped path questioned recently the validity of the principle of local symmetry within linear elastic fracture mechanics theory. Our theoretical and numerical work solves this dilemma, providing the precise geometric conditions for the existence of this repulsive phase. We moreover reveal a multiscale behavior of the repulsive-attractive transition, explaining its ubiquitous occurrence, but also the difficulty to predict the final cracks’ paths.
Source: Marie-Émeline Schwaab, Thierry Biben, Stéphane Santucci, Anthony Gravouil, and Loïc Vanel. Interacting Cracks Obey a Multiscale Attractive to Repulsive Transition. Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 255501 – Published 20 June 2018.