Fragmentation processes in impact of spheres

H. A. Carmona, F. K. Wittel, F. Kun, H. J. Herrmann

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We study the brittle fragmentation of spheres by using a three-dimensional discrete element model. Large scale computer simulations are performed with a model that consists of agglomerates of many particles, interconnected by beam-truss elements. We focus on the detailed development of the fragmentation process and study several fragmentation mechanisms. The evolution of meridional cracks is studied in detail. These cracks are found to initiate in the inside of the specimen with quasiperiodic angular distribution. The fragments that are formed when these cracks penetrate the specimen surface give a broad peak in the fragment mass distribution for large fragments that can be fitted by a two-parameter Weibull distribution. This mechanism can only be observed in three-dimensional models or experiments. The results prove to be independent of the degree of disorder in the model. Our results significantly improve the understanding of the fragmentation process for impact fracture since besides reproducing the experimental observations of fragment shapes, impact energy dependence, and mass distribution, we also have full access to the failure conditions and evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number051302
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 9 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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