Structure of micro-crack population and damage evolution in quasi-brittle media

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    Mechanical behaviour of quasi-brittle materials, such as concrete and rock, is controlled by the generation and growth of micro-cracks. A 3D lattice model is used in this work for generating micro-crack populations. In the model, lattice sites signify solid-phase blocks and lattice bonds transmit forces and moments between adjacent sites. Micro-cracks are generated at the interfaces between solid-phase blocks, where initial defects are allocated according to given size distribution. This is represented by removal of bonds when a criterion based on local forces and defect size is met. The growing population of micro-cracks results in a non-linear stress-strain response, which can be characterised by a standard damage parameter. This population is analysed using a graph-theoretical approach, where graph nodes represent failed faces and graph edges connect neighbouring failed faces, i.e. coalesced micro-cracks. The evolving structure of the graph components is presented and linked to the emergent non-linear behaviour and damage. The results provide new insights into the relation between the topological structure of the population of micro-cracks and the material macroscopic response. The study is focused on concrete, for which defect sizes were available, but the proposed methodology is applicable to a range of quasi-brittle materials with similar dominant damage mechanisms. © 2014 The Author.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages8
    JournalTheoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Crack population
    • Defect distribution
    • Lattice model
    • Macroscopic damage
    • Quasi-brittle material


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