An experimental investigation has been conducted to study the dynamic failure of bimaterial interfaces. Interfacial crack growth is observed using dynamic photoelasticity and characterized in terms of crack-tip velocity, complex stress intensity factor, and energy release rate. On the basis of crack-tip velocity two growth regimes are established, viz. the subsonic and transonic regimes. In the latter regime crack-tip velocities up to 1.3 times the shear wave velocity of the more compliant material are observed. This results in the formation of a line of discontinuity in the stress field surrounding the crack tip and also the presence of a pseudo crack tip that travels with the Rayleigh wave velocity (of the more compliant material).

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