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Title: Energy minimising multi-crack growth in linear-elastic materials using the extended finite element method with application to Smart-Cut™ silicon wafer splitting
Author: Sutula, Danas
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 2306
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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We investigate multiple crack evolution under quasi-static conditions in an isotropic linear-elastic solid based on the principle of minimum total energy, i.e. the sum of the potential and fracture energies, which stems directly from the Griffith’s theory of cracks. The technique, which has been implemented within the extended finite element method, enables minimisation of the total energy of the mechanical system with respect to the crack extension directions. This is achieved by finding the orientations of the discrete crack-tip extensions that yield vanishing rotational energy release rates about their roots. In addition, the proposed energy minimisation technique can be used to resolve competing crack growth problems. Comparisons of the fracture paths obtained by the maximum tension (hoop-stress) criterion and the energy minimisation approach via a multitude of numerical case studies show that both criteria converge to virtually the same fracture solutions albeit from opposite directions. In other words, it is found that the converged fracture path lies in between those obtained by each criterion on coarser numerical discretisations. Upon further investigation of the energy minimisation approach within the discrete framework, a modified crack growth direction criterion is proposed that assumes the average direction of the directions obtained by the maximum hoop stress and the minimum energy criteria. The numerical results show significant improvements in accuracy (especially on coarse discretisations) and convergence rates of the fracture paths. The XFEM implementation is subsequently applied to model an industry relevant problem of silicon wafer cutting based on the physical process of Smart-CutTM technology where wafer splitting is the result of the coalescence of multiple pressure-driven micro-crack growth within a narrow layer of the prevailing micro-crack distribution. A parametric study is carried out to assess the influence of some of the Smart-CutTM process parameters on the post-split fracture surface roughness. The parameters that have been investigated, include: mean depth of micro-crack distribution, distribution of micro-cracks about the mean depth, damage (isotropic) in the region of micro-crack distribution, and the influence of the depth of the buried-oxide layer (a layer of reduced stiffness) beneath the micro-crack distribution. Numerical results agree acceptably well with experimental observations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery