A numerical study on the application of the Weibull theory to brittle materials

S. L. Fok, B. C. Mitchell, J. Smart, B. J. Marsden

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In this paper, the effects of assuming that a brittle material can be modelled by the two-parameter Weibull distribution, if the true representation of the material behaviour is actually a three-parameter distribution, are examined. It is shown that if data from a material characterisation test is used to predict the failure of a component and the stressed surface areas are very different, then this can lead to major discrepancies in the predicted failure stress. It is also shown that if the three-parameter model is a true representation of the material behaviour, then the Weibull modulus for the two-parameter approximation will vary with surface area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1171-1179
Number of pages9
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 15 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
One of the authors (BCM) would like to thank HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and EPSRC for financial support.


  • Brittle materials
  • Ceramics
  • Weibull theory


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