Universality of fragment shapes

Domokos, Gábor and Kun, Ferenc and Sipos, András Árpád and Szabó, Tímea (2015) Universality of fragment shapes. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5 (9147). pp. 1-6. ISSN 2045-2322


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The shape of fragments generated by the breakup of solids is central to a wide variety of problems ranging from the geomorphic evolution of boulders to the accumulation of space debris orbiting Earth. Although the statistics of the mass of fragments has been found to show a universal scaling behavior, the comprehensive characterization of fragment shapes still remained a fundamental challenge. We performed a thorough experimental study of the problem fragmenting various types of materials by slowly proceeding weathering and by rapid breakup due to explosion and hammering. We demonstrate that the shape of fragments obeys an astonishing universality having the same generic evolution with the fragment size irrespective of materials details and loading conditions. There exists a cutoff size below which fragments have an isotropic shape, however, as the size increases an exponential convergence is obtained to a unique elongated form. We show that a discrete stochastic model of fragmentation reproduces both the size and shape of fragments tuning only a single parameter which strengthens the general validity of the scaling laws. The dependence of the probability of the crack plan orientation on the linear extension of fragments proved to be essential for the shape selection mechanism.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QC Physics / fizika > QC01 Mechanics / mechanika
Depositing User: Andras A. Sipos
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2015 22:29
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2015 22:29

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