2: Brittle Facture

There are two types of fracture found for most engineering materials, either ductile or brittle.

Ductile fracture is characterised by large amounts of plastic deformation before failure. This form of fracture involves large amounts of energy absorption (high toughness).

Brittle fracture is characterised by low plastic deformation and small amounts of energy absorption at failure (low toughness).

It takes a lot of force to deform a glass rod. With the load shown the rod is not broken.

But if the rod has a small notch, the force required to cause fracture is greatly reduced, and the rod breaks. Hold your mouse over the image to see the rod break.

The fracture of a glass rod is an example of brittle fracture. In brittle fracture there is no detectable plastic deformation, and little energy is absorbed before the fracture.