Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Subcritical Crack Growth in Brittle Materials: Mechanics



Sheldon M. Wiederhorn


The fracture of ceramic materials is often preceded by subcritical crack growth originating from flaws or cracks contained in these materials. Subcritical crack growth usually results from a stress-enhanced chemical interaction between the solid and moisture in the environment and has been observed in glasses, porcelains, oxides, silicate minerals and titanates. Since subcritical crack growth precedes catastrophic fracture, a delay to failure is often observed in components subjected to a static load. Subcritical crack growth also leads to a time dependence of the strength, the slower the loading rate, the weaker the material. The science of fracture mechanics provides a logical framework for understanding the effect of subcritical crack growth on structural ceramics and for predicting lifetime.
Encyclopedia of Materials


aluminum oxide, ceramics, crack growth, fracture, glass, lifetime prediction


Wiederhorn, S. (2008), Subcritical Crack Growth in Brittle Materials: Mechanics, Encyclopedia of Materials (Accessed July 13, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 16, 2008