Brittle Failure of Nanoscale Notched Silicon Cantilevers: A Finite Fracture Mechanics Approach

Pasquale Gallo, Alberto Sapora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The work provides an extremely useful method to predict the static failure of Micro- and Nano-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS, NEMS). The Finite Fracture Mechanics approach may have an enormous impact on the failure characterization of notched and cracked components in the field of nanodevices.

Abstract The present paper focuses on the Finite Fracture Mechanics (FFM) approach and verifies its applicability at the nanoscale. After the presentation of the analytical frame, the approach is verified against experimental data already published in the literature related to in situ fracture tests of blunt V-notched nano-cantilevers made of single crystal silicon, and loaded under mode I. The results show that the apparent generalized stress intensity factors at failure (i.e., the apparent generalized fracture toughness) predicted by the FFM are in good agreement with those obtained experimentally, with a discrepancy varying between 0 and 5%. All the crack advancements are larger than the fracture process zone and therefore the breakdown of continuum-based linear elastic fracture mechanics is not yet reached. The method reveals to be an efficient and effective tool in assessing the brittle failure of notched components at the nanoscale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1640
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Early online date29 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • finite fracture mechanics
  • nanoscale
  • silicon
  • brittle
  • notch
  • fracture
  • nanodevice


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  • NanoCrack/Gallo

    Gallo, P.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

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