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.
The amount of damage induced by brittle fracture of cracked bodies depends considerably on the path of fractures. Therefore, prediction of the trajectory of fracture using suitable theoretical fracture criteria is very important for cracked structures. In this paper, using higher-order terms of Williams’s series expansion and the maximum tangential stress criterion, the mixed mode I/II crack growth path of an angled crack plate subjected to biaxial far field loading is investigated theoretically. To evaluate the accuracy of the theoretical results, they are compared with the experimentally reported trajectories for the angled crack plate specimen. It is shown that by taking into account the higher order terms of the Williams series expansion a very good agreement is observed between the experimental and theoretical mixed mode fracture paths in the angled crack problem. It was also observed that the theoretically determined initial angle of crack growth is consistent with the experimental results.