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Cracks in ice and their role in brittle compressive failure

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SIPW04 - Ice fracture and cracks

Cracks—new and old, short and long—are ubiquitous features within the arctic sea ice cover. How they form and the role they play in mechanical behavior are important questions in ice mechanics. In this presentation, emphasis will be placed on brittle compressive failure. There, cracks preferentially oriented with respect to the applied stress state can slide intermittently across opposing surfaces in contact, activating in the process deformation mechanisms that can account for a number of observations/characteristics of brittle compressive failure on scales small and large. One such scale-independent mechanism is the wing-crack cum comb-crack mechanism: it can account for the axial splitting and shear faulting modes of terminal failure, conjugate faulting, brittle compressive strength and, upon consideration of crack-tip creep, the transition from brittle to ductile behavior. Application of confining stress above a critical level, set solely by the coefficient of kinetic friction, suppresses frictional sliding and activates, given a sufficiently high strain rate and triaxial confinement, a brittle-like mode of plastic failure governed by the different mechanism of adiabatic heating and dynamic recrystallization. These mechanisms will be described and questions arising addressed.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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