Microvoid coalescence

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MVC fracture surface morphologies for a) tension, b) shear, and c) bending failures

Microvoid coalescence (MVC) is a high energy microscopic fracture mechanism observed in the majority of metallic alloys and in some engineering plastics.

Fracture process[edit]

MVC proceeds in three stages: nucleation, growth, and coalescence of microvoids. The nucleation of microvoids can be caused by particle cracking or interfacial failure between precipitate particles and the matrix. Microvoids grow during plastic flow of the matrix, and microvoids coalesce when adjacent microvoids link together or the material between microvoids experiences necking. Microvoid coalescence leads to fracture.[1]

Fracture surface morphologies[edit]

MVC can result in three distinct fracture morphologies based on the type of loading at failure. Tensile loading results in equiaxed dimples, which are spherical depressions a few micrometres in diameter that coalesce normal to the loading axis. Shear stresses will result elongated dimples, which are parabolic depressions that coalesce in planes of maximum shear stress. The depressions point back to the crack origin, and shear influenced failure will produce depressions that point in opposite directions on opposing fracture surfaces. Combined tension and bending will also produce the elongated dimple morphology, but the directions of the depressions will be in the same direction on both fracture surfaces.


  1. ^ Hertzberg, Richard W. Deformation and Fracture Mechanics of Engineering Materials, Fourth Edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ: 1996.