Threshold crack speed controls dynamical fracture of silicon single crystals

Markus J. Buehler, Harvey Tang, Adri C.T. Van Duin, William A. Goddard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Fracture experiments of single silicon crystals reveal that after the critical fracture load is reached, the crack speed jumps from zero to 2km/sec, indicating that crack motion at lower speeds is forbidden. This contradicts classical continuum fracture theories predicting a continuously increasing crack speed with increasing load. Here we show that this threshold crack speed may be due to a localized phase transformation of the silicon lattice from 6-membered rings to a 5-7 double ring at the crack tip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165502
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 18 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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