Fragmentation processes in two-phase materials
We investigate the fragmentation process of solid materials with crystalline and amorphous phases using the the discrete element method. Damage initiates inside spherical samples above the contact zone in a region where the circumferential stress field is tensile. Cracks initiated in this region grow to form meridional planes. If the collision energy exceeds a critical value which depends on the material’s internal structure, cracks reach the sample surface resulting in fragmentation. We show that this primary fragmentation mechanism is very robust with respect to the internal structure of the material. For all configurations, a sharp transition from the damage to the fragmentation regime is observed, with smaller critical collision energies for crystalline samples. The mass distribution of the fragments follows a power law for small fragments with an exponent that is characteristic for the branching merging process of unstable cracks. Moreover this exponent depends only on the dimensionally of the system and not on the microstructure.