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.
In this paper, a volume criterion based on a simple scalar quantity, the mean value of the strain energy (SED), has been used to assess the static strength of notched components made of Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The local-strain-energy based approach has been applied to a well-documented set of experimental data recently reported in the literature. Data refer to blunt U-notched cylindrical specimens of commercial PMMA subjected to static loads and characterised by a large variability of notch tip radius (from 0.67 mm to 2.20 mm). Critical loads obtained experimentally have been compared with the theoretical ones, estimated by keeping constant the mean value of the strain energy in a well-defined small size volume. In addition, some new tests dealing with V-notched specimens with end holes have been carried out to investigate the effect of the notch opening angle.