A thin, brittle layer bonded between tougher substrates is susceptible to cracking under residual and applied stresses. Such a crack initiates from an equi-axed flaw, confined by the substrates, tunneling in the brittle layer. Although tunneling is a three-dimensional process, the energy release rate at the front of a steady-state tunnel can be computed using plane strain fields. Several technically important problems are analyzed, including tunnels in adhesive joints, shear fracture, and kinked tunnels in a reaction product layer. The concept is finally applied to microcracking in brittle matrix composites caused by thermal expansion mismatch.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.