The present work summarizes some recent experimental, theoretical and numerical results on brittle fracture of isostatic polycrystalline graphite. The analyses have been carried out on V-notched samples under mixed mode (I+II), torsion and compression loading, considering various combinations of the notch tip radius, opening angle and notch tilt angle. The static strength of the considered specimens is assessed through an approach based on the strain energy density averaged over a control volume. The center of the control volume is located on the notch edge, where the principal stress reaches its maximum value. The correct orientation is obtained by a rigid rotation of the crescent-shaped volume while the size depends on the fracture toughness and the ultimate strength of the material. This methodology has been already used in the literature to analyze U- and V-shaped notches subject to mode I loading with very good results and advantages with respect to classic approaches. The results reported in this new work show, also under mixed mode loading conditions, good agreement between experimental data and theoretical predictions.
Different criteria are available in the literature to assess the fracture behaviour of sharp V-notches. A typical and well-known criterion is based on the application of the notch stress intensity factors (NSIFs), which are able to quantify the intensity of the stress fields ahead of the notch tip. This work considers two recent energy-based criteria applied here to sharp V-notches. The first criterion is based on the averaged value of the strain energy density (SED), while the second one called Finite Fracture Mechanics (FFM) criterion is available under two different formulations: that by Leguillon et al. and that by Carpinteri et al. Considering the averaged SED criterion, a new expression for estimating the control radius Rc under pure Mode II loading is proposed and compared with the sound expression valid under pure Mode I loading. With reference to pure Mode II loading the critical NSIF at failure can be expressed as a function of the V-notch opening angle. By adopting the three criteria considered here the expressions for the NSIFs are derived and compared. After all, the approaches are employed considering sharp V-notched brittle components under in-plane shear loading, in order to investigate the capability of each approach for the fracture assessment. With this aim a bulk of experimental data taken from the literature is used for the comparison.