We simulate the fracture processes of ferroelectric polycrystals in three dimensions using a phase-field model. In this model, the grain boundaries, cracks and ferroelectric domain walls are represented in a diffuse way by three phase-fields. We thereby avoid the difficulty of tracking the interfaces in three dimensions. The resulting model can capture complex interactions between the crack and the polycrystalline and ferroelectric domain microstructures. The simulation results show the effect of the microstructures on the fracture response of the material. Crack deflection, crack bridging, crack branching and ferroelastic domain switching are observed to act as the main fracture toughening mechanisms in ferroelectric polycrystals. Our fully 3-D simulations illustrate how the combination of these mechanisms enhances the fracture toughness of the material, and pave the way for further systematic studies, including fracture homogenization.

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Published on 01/01/2014

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2013.11.016
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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