Fracture and adhesion of elastomers and gels: Large strains at small length scales

Kenneth R. Shull*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The fracture mechanics and the adhesion properties of highly deformable soft materials such as elastomers and gels are studied. The linear elasticity of the soft materials can not describe the elastically deformed region of the material and the stress concentration of an advancing crack tip ensures that the material is in a state of very large elastic strain. Studies show that bonded rubber samples fail in hydrostatic tension for values of the hydrostatic stress that are comparable to the elastic modulus. The overall deformation free energy is minimized by the concentration of the strain within a small volume, which leads to failures in soft materials. The divergence in the crack driving forces ensure that the materials fracture before the far-field stress exceeds the elastic modulus of the material. The strain hardening in the crack-tip region of soft materials increase the modulus of material comparable to the microscopic cohesive stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3436-3439
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2006


  • Adhesion
  • Elastomers
  • Fracture
  • Gels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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