Classical dynamic fracture mechanics predicts that the crack branching occurs when crack propagation speed exceeds a subsonic critical velocity. In this paper, we performed simulations on the dynamic fracture behaviors of idealized discrete mass–spring systems. It is interesting to note that a crack does not branch when traveling at supersonic speed, which is consistent with others' experimental observations. The mechanism for the characteristics of crack branching at different propagation speeds is studied by numerical and theoretical analysis. It is found that for all different speed regimes, the maximum circumferential stress near the crack tip determines the crack branching behaviors.

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