January 11, 2011 – January 11, 2011

?The Italian Group of Fracture (lGF) was born in 1982 as an aggregation cluster of scientists involved in the discipline of fracture. Since that time the organisation has grown, also through yearly national conferences and other important initiatives like the present one. Today the Group counts several hundreds of members and affiliates, who go-on considering this association as a cross-roads and a reference point for the development of the subjects of common interest. IGF is the natural representative of Italy within analogous international associations (European Structural Integrity Society, International Conference on Fracture, etc.), besides being the promoter for the Italian standardization of technical procedures and recommendations. 
Fracture is a natural and frequent phenomenon, the consequences of which are both positive, like in wood-cutting and mining works, and negative e.g. in the orthopaedic as well as in the structural field. Fracture Mechanics has gained a primary role in the analysis of the mechanical behaviour of materials. The fundamental aspects of elasticity and plasticity being already clarified, the research cutting edge is focusing on the several damage phenomena - smeared or discrete - occurring with a decrease of the loading capacity when the structural deformation increases. This post-peak loading stage represents the pre-collapse condition, and is investigated today both experimentally and numerically. During such an unstable and final process, the elementary failure mechanisms may interact, e.g. brittle fracture propagation, plastic deformation, fatigue, creep, instability of the equilibrium, etc. etc Any attempt to describe and to investigate the transient period of the failure process, according to the actual sequence of the critical events, is therefore extremely significant. As long as the failures of industrial components and civil structures are approached and investigated in a systematic and consistent manner by the global technical community, the designers will be able to improve their predictions, and the post-mortem investigators will be able to go back to the true causes. Having clear the strong conceptual and practical connections between theory, computer simulation and experiments on one hand, and the "case histories on integrity and failures" on the other, we have felt the institutional duty of IGF, besides the pleasure, to encourage and support this meritorious initiative. 

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