The Origin of Griffith Cracks

John Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


As a result of the extremely strong interatomic bonds, pores and cracks are difficult to form in metals. They seem unlikely to be created intrinsically by the normal mechanisms involved in the formation of a solid by solidification from liquid, or condensation from vapor phases, or probably, by lattice mechanisms in the solid state. It is proposed here that initiation sites for pores and cracks for most failures of metals can only be initiated from unbonded interfaces. Such unbonded defects are introduced into metals only via extrinsic (entrainment) mechanisms resulting from production processes, particularly melting and casting. Only entrained inclusions, particularly bifilms, have unbonded interfaces that can be opened to constitute Griffith cracks and can explain the initiation of macroscopic fracture and related microscopic processes, such as a decohesion between the second phases and a matrix. In the absence of entrained defects, metals would be predicted to fail in tension only either (1) at high stresses probably in excess of 20 GPa or (2) by ductile flow to the point of 100 pct reduction in area. Improved melting and casting processes giving freedom from entrained defects promise unprecedented performance and reliability of engineering metals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1097
Number of pages7
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions B
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


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