Scaling behavior of thermal shock crack patterns and tunneling cracks driven by cooling or drying
Cracks driven by shrinkage due to cooling or drying arrange themselves via mutual interaction. For parallel straight crack arrays driven by idealized transient shrinkage fields the scaling behavior in an infinite half-space is derived analytically by means of fracture mechanics bifurcation analysis with two plausible scaling assumptions. Crack spacing in thermal shock crack patterns has been found to be approximately proportional to the crack length and inversely proportional to the crack velocity. The spacing of tunneling cracks formed in a drying layer between plates scales as the 2/3rd power of layer thickness as a consequence of the specific interaction between the tunneling cracks. The difference in scaling behavior in the two cases is explained by the dimensionality of the geometrical setup determined by the boundary condition rather than by different physical processes. In either case, good agreement between theory and experiments is found.