, and usually makes a snapping sound.
When a material has reached the limit of its strength, it usually has the option of either deformation or fracture. A naturally
malleablemetal can be made stronger by impeding the mechanisms of plastic deformation (reducing grain size, dispersion strengthening, work hardening, etc.), but if this is taken to an extreme, fracture becomes the more likely outcome, and the material can become brittle. Improving material toughnessis therefore a balancing act.
This principle generalizes to other classes of material. Naturally brittle materials, such as
glass, are not difficult to toughen effectively. Most such techniques involve one of two mechanisms: to deflect or absorb the tip of a propagating crack, or to create carefully-controlled residual stresses so that cracks from certain predictable sources will be forced closed. The first principle is used in laminated glasswhere two sheets of glass are separated by an interlayer of polyvinyl butyral, which as a viscoelasticpolymer absorbs the growing crack. The second method is used in toughened glassand pre-stressed concrete. A demonstration of glass toughening is provided by Prince Rupert's Drop. Brittle polymerscan be toughened by using rubber particles to initiate crazes when a sample is stressed, a good example being high impact polystyreneor HIPS. The least-brittle structural ceramics are silicon carbide(mainly by virtue of its high strength) and transformation-toughened zirconia.
Effect of pressure
Generally, the "
brittle strength" of a material can be increased by pressure. This happens as an example in the brittle-ductile transition zoneat an approximate depth of 10 km in the Earth's crust, at which rock becomes less likely to fracture, and more likely to deform ductilely.
Supersonic fractureis crack motion faster than the speed of sound in a brittle material. This phenomenon was first discovered by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Metals Researchin Stuttgart( Markus J. Buehlerand Huajian Gao) and IBM Almaden Research Centerin San Jose, California ( Farid F. Abraham).
Izod impact strength test
Charpy impact test
* Lewis, Peter Rhys, Reynolds, K, and Gagg, C, "Forensic Materials Engineering: Case studies", CRC Press (2004).
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