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Micromechanisms of Crack Growth in Ceramics and Glasses in Corrosive Environments.
NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS WASHINGTON DC FRACTURE AND DEFORMATION DIV
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At normal temperatures and pressures, water is known to have a strong influence on the strength of ceramics and glasses. Behaving as a stress-corrosion agent, water causes these materials to fail prematurely as a consequence of subcritical crack growth. A basic premise of this paper is that stress-corrosion cracking of ceramics is a chemical process that involves a stress-enhanced chemical reaction between the water and the highly stressed ceramic near the crack tip. Plastic deformation is believed to play no role in this fracture process. After a brief survey of chemical reaction rate theory, the basic rate equation from this theory is modified to reflect physical and chemical processes that occur at crack tips. Modification of the rate equation is based on the assumption that the crack tip can be modelled as an elastic continuum, an assumption that is supported by a simple atomistic model of crack growth. When tested against experimental data collected on glass, the theory was found to be consistent with measurements of the crack-growth dependence on temperature, applied stress intensity factor, and concentration of reactive species in the environment. Author
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