Materials testing, known for many years, has surprised the world of science.  The latest findings turn the theory on its head

These experiments were led by John Dolpo of Duke University and Oscar Lopez-Bamis of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As they explain in their publication available at Journal of Mechanics and Physics of SolidsThe Brazilian test was the focus of their attention. This was developed by Fernando Carneiro and relates to strength testing of brittle materials.

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By analyzing so-called fracture mechanics, members of the research team reached conclusions that may be decisive in various fields, such as construction and even… medicine. The conclusions drawn from the analyzes are particularly interesting because their authors found something new. They claim to have been able to conduct a complete analysis of the fracking process, especially its beginnings.

The origins of the whole story go back to the mid-20th century, when Carneiro was asked to plan the relocation of…the church. The building was to be moved in such a way that it would not be damaged. The possibility of using concrete rollers for this purpose has been invented, and of course they must be exceptionally durable. The scientist noticed that as the load increased, these pulleys became susceptible to splitting into two parts in the middle.

The aim of the test developed by Carneiro was to determine the resistance of materials to cracking

It became clear that although these elements were compressed vertically, they were also stretched in a horizontal direction. In the course of further research, Carneiro discovered a simple way to measure tensile strength indirectly. These were materials similar to concrete, such as rocks. Thus the test known today as the Brazilian test was created and has been in use since 1943. Its principle is relatively simple: two rigid plates press on the disc until it begins to crack.

Over the years, the test's assumptions have been modified slightly, and part of the scientific world has begun to question its validity. There have been theories that the test is only valid if the damage begins at the center of the sample, rather than within the plates responsible for the stress. However, the authors of the latest research argue that false beliefs about the Brazilian test arise when we focus only on stress.

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While it is well understood in the case of construction that such a test is useful, the question arises: where does the reference to medicine come from? An example of this is the removal of kidney stones, which are desirable to destroy. As part of the experiments, scientists from the United States tested a substance known as BegoStone. Using the method developed by Carneiro, they understood where misconceptions about this test come from.

What is the problem? In their opinion, the aim was to ignore the contribution of pressure and strain of the specimens. A simple modification of the formula proposed by the researchers should solve the problem and bring the results of subsequent measurements closer to reality. The most important fact seems to be that from now on it will not matter whether the test will be performed at the center of the sample or inside the pressure plates. At least two areas will benefit from this, namely construction and medicine, and there could be more.

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