An analysis is presented for the dynamic, steady-state propagation of a semi-infinite, mode I crack in an infinite, linearly viscoelastic body. For mathematical convenience, the material is assumed to have a constant Poisson’s ratio, but the shear modulus is only assumed to be decreasing and convex. An expression for the Stress Intensity Factor (SIF) is derived for very general tractions on the crack faces and the Energy Release Rate (ERR) is constructed assuming that a fully developed Barenblatt type failure zone with nonsingular stresses exists at the crack tip and the loadings have a simple exponential form. For comparative purposes, expressions for the ERR are derived for the special cases of dynamic steady-state crack propagation in elastic material and quasi-static crack propagation in viscoelastic material, both with and without a failure zone. Sample calculations are included for power-law material and a standard linear solid in order to illustrate the combined influence of inertial effects, material viscoelasticity, and a failure zone upon the ERR.

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