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Mesoscale Models Characterizing Material Property Fields Used As a Basis for Predicting Fracture Patterns in Quasi-Brittle Materials

[+] Author Affiliations
Katherine A. Acton, Sarah C. Baxter

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Bahador Bahmani

Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

Philip L. Clarke, Reza Abedi

University of Tennessee Space Institute, Tullahoma, TN

Paper No. IMECE2017-71500, pp. V009T12A061; 6 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids; NDE, Structural Health Monitoring and Prognosis
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, November 3–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5844-8
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


To accurately predict fracture patterns in quasi-brittle materials, it is necessary to accurately characterize heterogeneity in the properties of a material microstructure. This heterogeneity influences crack propagation at weaker points. Also, inherent randomness in localized material properties creates variability in crack propagation in a population of nominally identical material samples. In order to account for heterogeneity in the strength properties of a material at a small scale (or “microscale”), a mesoscale model is developed at an intermediate scale, smaller than the size of the overall structure. A central challenge of characterizing material behavior at a scale below the representative volume element (RVE), is that the stress/strain relationship is dependent upon boundary conditions imposed. To mitigate error associated with boundary condition effects, statistical volume elements (SVE) are characterized using a Voronoi tessellation based partitioning method. A moving window approach is used in which partitioned Voronoi SVE are analysed using finite element analysis (FEA) to determine a limiting stress criterion for each window. Results are obtained for hydrostatic, pure and simple shear uniform strain conditions. A method is developed to use superposition of results obtained to approximate SVE behavior under other loading conditions. These results are used to determine a set of strength parameters for mesoscale material property fields. These random fields are then used as a basis for input in to a fracture model to predict fracture patterns in quasi-brittle materials.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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