Role of disorder in the size scaling of material strength

Mikko J. Alava*, Phani K.V.V. Nukala, Stefano Zapperi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
160 Downloads (Pure)


We study the sample-size dependence of the strength of disordered materials with a flaw, by numerical simulations of lattice models for fracture. We find a crossover between a regime controlled by the disorder and another controlled by stress concentrations, ruled by continuum fracture mechanics. The results are formulated in terms of a scaling law involving a statistical fracture process zone. Its existence and scaling properties are revealed only by sampling over many configurations of the disorder. The scaling law is in good agreement with experimental results obtained from notched paper samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055502
Pages (from-to)1-4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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