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Plasticity and fracture in drying colloidal films

By L Goehring, WJ Clegg and AF Routh


Cracks in drying colloidal dispersions are typically modeled by elastic fracture mechanics, which assumes that all strains are linear, elastic, and reversible. We tested this assumption in films of a hard latex, by intermittently blocking evaporation over a drying film, thereby relieving the film stress. Here we show that although the deformation around a crack tip has some features of brittle fracture, only 20%-30% of the crack opening is relieved when it is unloaded. Atomic force micrographs of crack tips also show evidence of plastic deformation, such as microcracks and particle rearrangement. Finally, we present a simple scaling argument showing that the yield stress of a drying colloidal film is generally comparable to its maximum capillary pressure, and thus that the plastic strain around a crack will normally be significant. This also suggests that a film’s fracture toughness may be increased by decreasing the interparticle adhesion

Publisher: American Physical Society
Year: 2013
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