Universality and Hysteretic Dynamics in Rapid Fracture
The Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew
(Received 14 March 2005; published 10 June 2005)
Experiments in the dynamic fracture of brittle polyacrylamide gels show that a single-crack state undergoes a hysteretic transition to the microbranching instability with a characteristic activation time. Quantitative measurements also indicate that features such as crack front inertia, self-focusing of microbranches, and the appearance of front waves are universal attributes of dynamic fracture.