ABSTRACT: Crack initiation and coalescence are investigated in specimens with three initial fractures loaded in uniaxial compression. A total number of sixty specimens are prepared and loaded until failure. The types of cracks, initiation stress, coalescence stress, and type of coalescence are recorded in each test. A strong dependence between the crack pattern produced and the flaw arrangement is observed. Various geometry factors are introduced to explain this dependency. Two types of shear cracks can initiate from the tips of the flaws: coplanar and oblique shear cracks. Two new coalescence types are found, which are related to the oblique shear cracks.

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