Spontaneous thermal runaway as an ultimate failure mechanism of materials.

@article{Braeck2007SpontaneousTR,
  title={Spontaneous thermal runaway as an ultimate failure mechanism of materials.},
  author={Simen Braeck and Yuri Y. Podladchikov},
  journal={Physical review letters},
  year={2007},
  volume={98 9},
  pages={
          095504
        }
}
The first theoretical estimate of the shear strength of a perfect crystal was given by Frenkel [Z. Phys. 37, 572 (1926)10.1007/BF01397292]. By assuming that two rigid atomic rows in the crystal would move over each other along a slip plane, he derived the ultimate shear strength to be about one-tenth of the shear modulus. Here we present a theoretical study showing that catastrophic failure of viscoelastic materials may occur below Frenkel's ultimate limit as a result of thermal runaway. The… 
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