Brittle intergranular failure in 2D microstructures: Experiments and simulations

M. Grah, K. J. Bowman, M. Ostoja-Starzewski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Brittle intergranular fracture (BIF) is a common mode of failure for monolithic ceramics and intermetallics, as well as for some refractory metals and metals exposed to environmental corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, or high temperature creep. As interest in applications for these materials grows, research programs have been developed to characterize and predict their fracture behavior. In order to experimentally quantify the effects of microstructure on local BIF, systems which have a minimum number of variables which influence fracture must be used. Evaluation of materials with two dimensional (2D) microstructures can considerably reduce the complexity of the system. In addition, providing a biaxial stress state in the 2D microstructure ensures that all boundaries experience exclusively Mode I loading prior to failure. Biaxial elastic loading of this simplified microstructure allows the calculation of a) local stress and strain fields (and their concentrations) prior to failure, as well as b) prediction of grain boundary strength criteria, and c) prediction of intergranular crack paths. This can be achieved by conducting computer simulations of the experimentally observed fracture phenomena in polycrystalline specimens having a given texture and microgeometry; these simulations use high resolution finite-difference grids below the crystal scale, see e.g. [22]. Since the grain boundary strength criterion is easily controllable in such simulations, it can be inferred by a comparison with actual experimental results. The latter will be complemented by results on fracture of materials with very weak grain boundaries, thus providing a clear perspective on evolution of the failure process for varying degrees of embrittlement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThermomechanical Behavior of Advanced Structural Materials
EditorsWalter F. Jones
PublisherPubl by ASME
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)0791810348
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1993 ASME Winter Annual Meeting - New Orleans, LA, USA
Duration: Nov 28 1993Dec 3 1993

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Aerospace Division (Publication) AD
ISSN (Print)0733-4230


OtherProceedings of the 1993 ASME Winter Annual Meeting
CityNew Orleans, LA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

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