Fracture toughness tests were carried out by using small compact tension specimens of Westerly granite. Relation between the load-line displacement and the initial crack-tip separation changed from linear to nonlinear and then to linear again with increasing loading. The onset of the main crack growth was found to occur in a loading level at which the relation was nonlinear. This result disclosed that the onset of main crack growth in granite occurred without experience of the complete area under the tension-softening curve. The critical value of the initial crack-tip separation for onset of the main crack growth was obtained independently of the initial notch length. Also monitoring of the growth of the fracture process zone by ultrasonic technique showed that its length related with the crack-tip separation independently of the initial notch length. By combining the results just mentioned, it was concluded that the fracture process zone controlled the onset of the main crack growth.
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