This review article, supported by some original experimental results, explains the nature of the Cook‐Gordon (C‐G) mechanism of crack blunting. Examples are given of how the C‐G mechanism influences the toughness of several anisotropic materials: fibrillated polymeric films, composites based on oriented polymers, and beech and spruce woods. Moreover, the C‐G mechanism can explain the effects of orientation on anisotropic photo‐oxidative degradation of semicrystalline polymers, and also the sudden emb…
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