The fracture of materials is a catastrophic phenomenon of considerable technological and scientific importance. Here, we analysed experiments designed for industrial applications in order to test the concept that, in heterogeneous materials such as fiber composites, rocks, concrete under compression and materials with large distributed residual stresses, rupture is a genuine critical point, i.e., the culmination of a self-organization of damage and cracking characterized by power law signatures. Specifically, we analyse the acoustic emissions recorded during the pressurisation of spherical tanks of kevlar or carbon fibers pre-impregnated in a resin matrix wrapped up around a thin metallic liner (steel or titanium) fabricated and instrumented by Aérospatiale-Matra Inc. These experiments are performed as part of a routine industrial procedure which tests the quality of the tanks prior to shipment and varies in nature. We find that the seven acoustic emission recordings of seven pressure tanks which was brought to rupture exhibit clear acceleration in agreement with a power law “divergence ” expected from the critical point theory. In addition, we find strong evidence of log-periodic corrections that quantify the intermittent succession of accelerating bursts and quiescent phases of the acoustic emissions on the approach to rupture. An improved model accounting for the cross-over from the non-critical to the critical region close to the rupture point exhibit
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