Entry of molecular water into the silica glass crack tip during fracture: origin of environmentally-enhanced mechanical fatigue

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Authors
Potter, Arron
Issue Date
2023-12
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Electronic thesis
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en_US
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Materials engineering
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Water's role in diminishing mechanical strength and accelerating fatigue in silicate glasses is well-known in literature, but the mechanism behind this remains a topic of some debate. A novel experimental approach is presented to investigate the influence of water on glass fracture mechanics. Water content has been directly measured in fresh fracture surfaces generated by the double cleavage drilled compression method using attenuated total reflection, a surface-sensitive application of Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Speciation and stress intensity dependence of water uptake during fracture have been determined quantitatively. This study finds that environmentally-enhanced fatigue is accompanied by significant molecular water entry, on the order of 0.1-1 wt%, with no observation of additional hydroxyl after fracture. In light of the new data from this study and extant work on water-enhanced internal friction, this study suggests that stress relaxation at the crack tip may be the driving factor behind environmentally-induced fatigue.
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December2023
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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