Roughing It

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Science  01 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5326, pp. 647
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5326.647

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Michael Marder Why, when something breaks, are the fractured pieces rough? In his Perspective, Marder discusses recent computer simulations on the fracture of materials. With state-of-the-art parallel computer technology, numerical simulations of a million atoms undergoing fracture are possible. How a material breaks seems to depend critically on the behavior of the crack tip as it propagates through the solid.