Quantitative Characterization of the Fracture Surface of Si Single Crystals by Confocal Microscopy

Yun‐Biao ‐B Xin, K Jimmy Hsia, David A. Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Experiments are conducted to study the dislocation nucleation conditions at the crack tip in {110}〈110〉 oriented Si single crystals. Specimens with surface cracks are first statically loaded at elevated temperatures for a prolonged period of time to initiate and move dislocations away from the crack tip, then cooled down to room temperature and loaded to fracture to measure the fracture toughness. Fractographic analysis of the fracture surfaces is performed. Distinct wavy patterns on the fracture surface at the initial cleavage crack front are observed, which is attributed to the existence of local mixed mode I/mode III stresses resulting from the inhomogeneous dislocation activity. Confocal microscopy is employed to quantify the fracture surface roughness. The results show that the increase of fracture toughness is directly associated with the increased area of the rough surface, which is characterized by the roughness number or the fractal dimension increment. Our results also demonstrate that dislocation nucleation can occur only at discrete sites. The spacing between these dislocation nucleation sources is of the order of 1 μm. A simple model is developed for the relationship between the fracture toughness and the surface roughness parameters, which is in good agreement with the experimental results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3201-3208
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry

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