We investigate the effect of the amount of disorder on the shrinkage-induced cracking of a thin brittle layer attached to a substrate. Based on a discrete element model we study how the dynamics of cracking and the size of fragments evolve when the amount of disorder is varied. In the model a thin layer is discretized on a random lattice of Voronoi polygons attached to a substrate. Two sources of disorder are considered: structural disorder captured by the local variation of the stiffness and strength disorder represented by the random strength of cohesive elements between polygons. Increasing the amount of strength disorder, our calculations reveal a transition from a cellular crack pattern, generated by the sequential branching and merging of cracks, to a disordered ensemble of cracks where the merging of randomly nucleated microcracks dominate. In the limit of low disorder, the statistics of fragment size is described by a log-normal distribution; however, in the limit of high disorder, a power-law distribution is obtained.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics