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Journal Articles Pure and Applied Geophysics Year : 2003

Slow Crack Propagation and Slip Correlations

A. Delaplace
  • Function : Author
K. J. Mâløy
  • Function : Author
H. Perfettini
  • Function : Author


The propagation of an interfacial crack through a weak plane of a transparent Plexiglas block is studied experimentally. The toughness is controlled artificially by a sand blasting procedure, and fluctuates locally in space like uncorrelated random noise. The block is fractured in mode I at low speed (10−7−10−4 m/s). The crack front is observed optically with a microscope and a high resolution digital camera. During the propagation, the front is pinned by micro-regions of high toughness and becomes rough. Roughness of the crack front is analyzed in terms of self-affinity. The in-plane roughness exponent is shown to be 0.63±0.05. Experimental results are compared to a numerical model. The model reproduces the self-affine behavior of the crack front, i.e., long-range correlations of the roughness. Analogies between mode I and mode III are presented in order to discuss implications of the experimental results for creeping faults. Accordingly, correlations of the slip pattern are shown to exist over scales substantially larger than the asperity sizes.

Dates and versions

insu-03607100 , version 1 (12-03-2022)



J. Schmittbuhl, A. Delaplace, K. J. Mâløy, H. Perfettini, J. P. Vilotte. Slow Crack Propagation and Slip Correlations. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 2003, 160, pp.961-976. ⟨10.1007/PL00012575⟩. ⟨insu-03607100⟩
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