Roberto Brighenti, Prof. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9273-0822 Andrea Carpinteri, Prof. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8489-6005 Federico Artoni https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9032-2959


Highly deformable materials (elastomers, gels, biological tissues, etc.) are ubiquitous in nature as well as in technology. The understanding of their flaw sensitivity is crucial to ensure a desired safety level. Fracture failure in soft materials usually occurs after the development of an uncommon crack path because of the non-classical near-tip stress field and the viscous effects. In a neo-Hookean material, the true opening stress singularity along the crack profile is of the order of , while it is of the order of  ahead of the crack tip, promoting the appearance of a crack tip splitting leading to a tortuous crack. In the present paper, experimental tests concerning the fracture behavior of highly deformable thin sheets under tension are discussed, and the observed crack paths are interpreted according to the crack tip stress field arising for large deformations. The study reveals that higher strain rates facilitate the development of a simple Mode-I crack path, while lower strain rates induce a mixed Mode in the first crack propagation stage, leading to the formation of new crack tips. The above described behavior seems to not be affected by the initial crack size.


SI: Crack Paths