Fracture mechanics is an active research field that is currently advancing on many fronts. This appraisal of research trends and opportunities notes the promising developments of nonlinear fracture mechanics in recent years and cites some of the challenges in dealing with topics such as ductile-brittle transitions, failure under substantial plasticity or creep, crack tip processes under fatigue loading, and the need for new methodologies for effective fracture analysis of composite materials. Continued focus on microscale fracture processes by work at the interface of solid mechanics and materials science holds promise for understanding the atomistics of brittle vs ductile response and the mechanisms of microvoid nucleation and growth in various materials. Critical experiments to characterize crack tip processes and separation mechanisms are a pervasive need. Fracture phenomena in the contexts of geotechnology and earthquake fault dynamics also provide important research challenges.

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