2020 Impact factor 1.890
Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 7, 303-310 (2002)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2001-10096-4

Why is nacre strong? II. Remaining mechanical weakness for cracks propagating along the sheets

K. Okumura

Physique de la Matière Condensée, Collège de France, 11, place Marcelin-Berthelot, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France Department of Physics, Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Ochanomizu University, 2-1-1, Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, 112-8610, Japan

(Received 16 November 2001)

In our previous paper (Eur. Phys. J. E 4, 121 (2001)) we proposed a coarse-grained elastic energy for nacre, or stratified structure of hard and soft layers found in certain seashells . We then analyzed a crack running perpendicular to the layers and suggested one possible reason for the enhanced toughness of this substance. In the present paper, we consider a crack running parallel to the layers. We propose a new term added to the previous elastic energy, which is associated with the bending of layers. We show that there are two regimes for the parallel-fracture solution of this elastic energy; near the fracture tip the deformation field is governed by a parabolic differential equation while the field away from the tip follows the usual elliptic equation. Analytical results show that the fracture tip is lenticular, as suggested in a paper on a smectic liquid crystal (P.G. de Gennes, Europhys. Lett. 13, 709 (1990)). On the contrary, away from the tip, the stress and deformation distribution recover the usual singular behaviors ( $\sqrt{x}$ and $1/\sqrt{x}$, respectively, where x is the distance from the tip). This indicates there is no enhancement in toughness in the case of parallel fracture.

87.68.+z - Biomaterials and biological interfaces.
46.50.+a - Fracture mechanics, fatigue and cracks.
81.07.-b - Nanoscale materials and structures: fabrication and characterization.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2002