A comparison of crack propagation theories in viscoelastic materials

Crack propagation in viscoelastic materials cannot be understood with the use of classical fracture mechanics, which predicts no dependence on the speed of propagation, unless cohesive models like Barenblatt or Dugdale are introduced, as done by Knauss & Schapery first in the 1970s. However, there is another approach, suggested qualitatively by deGennes in 1996, and quantitatively by Persson and Brener in 2005, which attempts an energy (power) balance by considering viscoelastic dissipation in the bulk of the material. Here, we revisit the main results of the two theories and show that they lead to approximately the same scaling laws not just for the standard material, but also for power law materials (which have a continuous spectrum of relaxation times). Recent findings by Schapery have concluded that the shape of the cohesive law results essentially in a shift in velocity which depends both on cohesive law shape and viscoelastic properties. Therefore, the Persson-Brener cutoff radius in the integral of dissipation can be chosen to fit approximately the cohesive model results to match the shift of the reference velocity.