A review is given of the analogous dependence on reciprocal square root of grain size or crack size of fracture strength measurements reported for steel and other potentially brittle materials. The two dependencies have much in common. For onset of cleavage in steel, attention is focused on relationship of the essentially athermal fracture stress compared with a quite different viscoplastic yield stress behaviour. Both grain-size-dependent stresses are accounted for in terms of dislocation pile-up mechanics. Lowering of the cleavage stress occurs in steel because of carbide cracking. For crack size dependence, there is complication of localized crack tip plasticity in fracture mechanics measurements. Crack-size-dependent conventional and indentation fracture mechanics measurements are described also for results obtained on the diverse materials: polymethylmethacrylate, silicon crystals, alumina polycrystals and WC-Co (cermet) composites.
One contribution of 19 to a theme issue ‘Fracturing across the multi-scales of diverse materials’.
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