Fused silica in service can suffer from strength degradation due to a localized contact load or particle impact that can cause cracking about the indentation or impact site. This cracking generally consists of radial, lateral, and cone cracks and is independent of whether the indenter or particle is sharp or blunt or whether the impact is subsonic or hypervelocity. The impact site is generally characterized by a shallow pit surrounded by an array of microcracks. The pit is formed by the fragmentation of the glass due to the intersecting radial, lateral, and cone cracks. With either static indentation or particle impact, it is the radial crack that controls strength degradation. The applicability of indentation fracture mechanics in predicting this strength degradation is discussed.
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