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Project Overview

The understanding and modelling of crack nucleation and propagation at nano and micro scales in complex multiphase materials is a new frontier in the theory of Fracture Mechanics, which is becoming increasingly important nowadys for the practical application of novel high-performance composites. These new materials are obtained through the optimal placement of different phases in hierarchical structures, mimicking biological systems, or incorporating inclusions with negative stiffness, to obtain mechanical properties far higher than those of either constituent.

The aim of the INTERCRACKS project is the establishment of new concepts within the theory of Fracture Mechanics for innovative composite materials, bridging together the different length scales. To achieve this challenging objective, we aim to consolidate the research which has been carried out by myself and my group in recent years and to develop a new and novel program of transnational research in composite and material science, involving research in applied mathematics, computational engineering and material testing. In this context, a number of fundamental problems will be addressed:

  • micromechanical derivation of transmission conditions for different types of interfaces;
  • derivation of weight functions for cracks along perfect and imperfect interfaces;
  • interfacial cracks interactions with micro inclusions, inducing crack acceleration and arrest, crack kinking, perturbation of the crack front;
  • stability analysis of interfacial cracks in dynamic regime;
  • crack nucleation from, and interaction with, material micro-instabilities;
  • modelling fracture propagation through lattice structures, keeping into account the interactions between atoms, to be used to disclose the features of failure at the nanoscale.