Fracture Mechanics 1975 — An Overview
Catastrophic and unexpected failures, and the need to analyze them in order to prevent future occurrences, were the principal stimuli to the development of Fracture Mechanics. The two original papers [1,2] resulted from strong technological motivation coupled with the desire to apply the latest analytical solutions of the stress distribution near cracks, corners, or slits. The first one is a little known paper by K. Wieghardt  who published an extensive paper entitled “On the Clevage and Fracture of Elastic Bodies” in the Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik in 1907. He correctly derives the 1/√r singularity at the crack tip or corner, Figure 1, but does not attempt to answer the question of the force required to cause fracture, “...the common strength hypotheses would predict fracture at extremely low forces, which is, in fact, not the case”. Rather, he treats the problem of the direction of crack propagation. He concludes that experimental results of tests on a specimen designed by Bach to simulate the behavior of “U” shaped supports, Figure 2, and theoretical results agree for a maximum normal stress failure criterion .
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