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A Study on Phase-Field Models for Brittle Fracture

By Fei Zhang, Weizhang Huang, Xianping Li and Shicheng Zhang


In the phase-field modeling of brittle fracture, anisotropic constitutive assumptions for the degradation of stored elastic energy due to fracture are crucial to preventing cracking in compression and obtaining physically sound numerical solutions. Three energy decomposition models, the spectral decomposition, the volumetric-deviatoric split, and an improved volumetric-deviatoric split, and their effects on the performance of the phase-field modeling are studied. Meanwhile, anisotropic degradation of stiffness may lead to a small energy remaining on crack surfaces, which violates crack boundary conditions and can cause unphysical crack openings and propagation. A simple yet effective treatment for this is proposed: define a critically damaged zone with a threshold parameter and then degrade both the active and passive energies in the zone. A dynamic mesh adaptation finite element method is employed for the numerical solution of the corresponding elasticity system. Four examples, including two benchmark ones, one with complex crack systems, and one based on an experimental setting, are considered. Numerical results show that the spectral decomposition and improved volumetric-deviatoric split models, together with the improvement treatment of crack boundary conditions, can lead to crack propagation results that are comparable with the existing computational and experimental results. It is also shown that the numerical results are not very sensitive to the parameter defining the critically damaged zone.Comment: 38 page

Topics: Mathematics - Numerical Analysis
Year: 2018
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