Laser Speckle Strain Imaging reveals the origin of delayed fracture in a soft solid

Hanne M. van der Kooij, Simone Dussi, Gea T. van de Kerkhof, Raoul A.M. Frijns, Jasper van der Gucht, Joris Sprakel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Stresses well below the critical fracture stress can lead to highly unpredictable delayed fracture after a long period of seemingly quiescent stability. Delayed fracture is a major threat to the lifetime of materials, and its unpredictability makes it difficult to prevent. This is exacerbated by the lack of consensus on the microscopic mechanisms at its origin because unambiguous experimental proof of these mechanisms remains absent. We present an experimental approach to measure, with high spatial and temporal resolution, the local deformations that precipitate crack nucleation. We apply this method to study delayed fracture in an elastomer and find that a delocalized zone of very small strains emerges as a consequence of strongly localized damage processes. This prefracture deformation zone grows exponentially in space and time, ultimately culminating in the nucleation of a crack and failure of the material as a whole. Our results paint a microscopic picture of the elusive origins of delayed fracture and open the way to detect damage well before it manifests macroscopically.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaar1926
JournalScience Advances
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Laser Speckle Strain Imaging reveals the origin of delayed fracture in a soft solid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this