Variational Determination of the Crack Trajectory in Inhomogeneous Media

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Propagation of a crack through inhomogeneous media is considered in the variational formulation, whereby the path corresponding to the extremum of energy release during fracture is sought. A non-linear differential equation is obtained for the crack trajectory in an inhomogeneous medium subjected to specified tensile loading. A linearized form of this equation is investigated in order to characterise the crack propagation in media with different effective characteristics.

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