Aspects of rapid crack propagation in silicon

D. Sherman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fracture experiments with silicon specimens in recent years have shown the need for a new approach to the analysis of rapidly propagating cracks in single crystals. Behaviour and phenomena have been revealed that fracture in these materials is rather different from the fracture of both amorphous and polycrystalline materials. We show that continuum mechanics is insufficient for analyzing crack propagation in single crystals since it is unable to consider atomistic-scale phenomena. Accordingly, we describe basic phenomena associated with rapid crack propagation in silicon (i) anisotropic velocity-dependent R-curve behaviour, as a key phenomenon dictating atomistic scale behaviour, (ii) crack deflection from one cleavage plane to another as a mesoscopic scale phenomenon in single-crystal fracture, (iii) the Rayleigh surface wave speed as the limiting crack tip velocity is re-examined, (vi) the lowest crack velocity in brittle crystals is examined, and finally (v) the interaction between crack path and preferred cleavage planes in single crystals is depicted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalFatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cleavage
  • Crack deflection
  • Dynamic fracture
  • Energy dissipation
  • Single crystal
  • Velocity-dependent


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