The field of fracture mechanics deals with the prediction of crack propagation in structures. All structures have defects such as material imperfections or manufacturing flaws which in-service become cracks. These cracks may be unimportant to the continued functioning of the structure or they may run catastrophically causing great damage to property and life. Typical large structures in which this may occur include bridges, submarines, airplanes and aerospace vehicles, to name a few.
Analytical, numerical and experimental methods are employed in the Fracture Mechanics Laboratory to treat fracture problems which include homogeneous materials, bonds, interfaces and composites.