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Judul Asli: Experimentation, Numerical Simulation and the Role of Engineering Judgement in the Fracture Mechanics of Concrete and Concrete Structures

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3]14

engineering judgement in the fracture mechanics of concrete

and concrete structures

J.G.M. van Mier U , M.R.A. van Vliet

Delft Uni ersity of Technology, Faculty of Ci il Engineering and Geo-Sciences, M2L Laboratory, P.O. Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft,

The Netherlands

Abstract

Fracture mechanics plays a role in both structural engineering and materials engineering. The aim here is to improve

understanding of the behaviour of structures and materials in the limit state. The use of numerical models can help improve the

accuracy of our designs, but only if the certainty about material models improves. The models tend to become more detailed as

the performance of computers increases. However, the question is, will this increased amount of detail help to improve our

understanding, and improve the reliability of the numerical models. These questions are addressed in this paper. It is shown that

through increasing the amount of detail, certain phenomena may be observed that seem to correspond to limits that are reached

in practice as well. The example given is the limit reached when trying to fill a plane with circular aggregates. Next it is shown

that certain fracture behaviours of concrete can be simulated, be it that a virtual world is created. The role of the experiment is

evident. Another role for the experiment is in the development of bench-mark problems in structural engineering. These

benchmarks also serve to improve the quality of numerical models. Q 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Fracture mechanics; Structural engineering; Materials engineering; Numerical lattice model

1. Introduction

Mechanics is a tool which is required to predict

structural behaviour!? In using the tool, the real structure must be schematised, and assumptions made about

supports and possible critical loading cases. However,

based on earlier structural work, some experience is

needed in order to decide how the structure is to be

modelled, and which loading cases should be addressed. This means that before the new structure is

designed, the engineer has, first as an apprentice, but

later as a responsible craftsman, been involved in other

structural designs. The process of obtaining a new

design is a creative one, and requires imagination and

2785895; e-mail: j.vanmier@ct.tudelft.nl

knowledge of materials is also essential.

Looking to the education of structural engineers, it

seems that previously, mastering the new analysis tools

was of primary importance. For some, uncertainty and

a limited knowledge of the design process leads to a

flight in analysis techniques. The introduction of computational mechanics mainly through developments in

computer technology, paved the way for subjects such

as concrete mechanics and the like. The promise was

simple: everything can be computed because freedom

of shape and inclusion of realistic boundary conditions

in the numerical. mechanics models, e.g. finite element methods, boundary element methods, etc., has

become possible now. However, is the situation as

simple? Is it possible just to imagine a nice shape for a

bridge or a building structure, and then to feed everything into the computer and wait for the answer? Of

0950-0618r99r$ - see front matter Q 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PII: S 0 9 5 0 - 0 6 1 8 9 9 . 0 0 0 0 3 - 3

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

First there is the conceptual design, a creative design

process, and in spite of spectacular progress in computer technology, this still remains a human activity.

Overlooking the implications of a certain design decision can be judged in an instant by an experienced

engineer, but takes millions of searches using a computer-based approach; not very realistic at present. In

fact, such considerations bring us close to questions

such as, How does the mind work?, which by some

scientists is regarded as a computer as well. There is

certainly ground for research in the field of conceptual

design, as became clear for example at the IASS Conference on the topic in Stuttgart in 1996 w1x. However,

let us turn to other aspects of the problem, and consider the state of affairs when the conceptual design is

completed and the engineer must check whether the

structure can be built, and what the final dimensions of

all the structural elements would be. With the main

structural shape being defined, as well as the structural

principle, there are more certainties, and the computer

can now play a more important role. Essentially it is

still no more than a tool, a number crunchier to assist

with the computations of structures and the many

details.

At this stage of the design process, the structure is

schematised either in one, two or three dimensions.

Supports boundary conditions. and loading cases are

defined, which form the real crux of the problem: they

are always approximations from reality. For example,

hinges are never perfect in practice but are assumed to

be frictionless in mechanics models. Uniform loads can

be defined, but in reality they never are. When heterogeneous materials like concrete or rock are used, the

material itself is the most important source of deviations from uniformity. The constitutive models represent the material of which the structure was made. The

material laws are tuned to laboratory experiments

where the boundary conditions are supposedly better

known.

Typical experiments for measuring the mechanical

properties of a material are the uniaxial tension test,

the uniaxial compression test, different types of multiaxial compression experiments and flexural tests. In a

typical diagram of concrete, rock, or other brittle disordered materials like some non-transformable ceramics and metal matrix composites, a non-linear

stress]strain curve is measured up till a certain peak

stress is reached, after which the diagram displays a

loss of carrying capacity with increasing deformation.

This latter part of the curve is called the softening

branch. During softening, localisation of deformations

occurs. In tension this leads to a discrete crack which

separates the specimen into two halves; in compression

a shear band may develop at low confinement such

that brittle failure prevails.. Frictional stress transfer is

generally still possible in the shear band, and depending on the confining stress a lower or higher residual

stress level is measured. The pre-peak non-linearities

are caused by quasi-. stable microcrack processes, as

was for the first time demonstrated for concrete in tests

by Hsu et al. w2x.

Because the size of the critical crack in tension. and

the shear bands in compression. are of the same order

of magnitude as the characteristic specimen dimensions, new free boundaries are created which change

the problem completely. As a result, the post-peak

fracture process is affected by boundary conditions and

size effects. Thus, certainty about the true fracture

processes diminishes, and a model can be tuned only

through some inverse modelling process.

What is the way out of this paradoxical situation,

which can be formulated as follows: when for the final

check, the structural size has been decided, and details

of the structure have been figured out, it seems that

certainty about the material models evades. Before the

final stage the uncertainty about the material models

was just a single element from the complete set of

uncertainties of the entire design process, and of limited

importance. The way to proceed seems to bifurcate.

One possibility is to dive further into the materials, and

try to model the behaviour to an ever increasing degree

of detail. Microscopic processes are dealt with, which

require highly accurate experimental information that

can be obtained at large costs only. Computations at

the same detailed level require a huge computer capacity, again at increasing cost. The process seems to

correspond to the match between Achilles and the

tortoise: a never ending story, where however, the

match itself is the enjoyable part of it. The second

possibility is to revert to an engineering approach, and

to view the entire design process in the same way in the

conceptual design stage. In other words, consider the

complete system and optimise it, mostly through experience and through trial and error.

Thus, will it ever be possible to develop models for

concrete fracture with a sufficient amount of predictive

power for full-proof structural design? Can everything

be computed, or is engineering judgement just as important as anything else? These questions are a common area of debate between design and research engineers.

In this paper we will not try to solve these questions.

Rather we will focus on our ability to use numerical

models as a helpful tool to better understand the

mechanical behaviour of concrete as well as for developing constitutive equations. Moreover, the numerical

tools can be used to engineer new materials. As far as

mechanical behaviour is concerned, in particular the

fracture stage is of interest. The limit state is also of

interest to the structural engineer. For instance, the

rotational capacity of reinforced concrete structures is

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

collapse. This means that the full stress]strain curve of

concrete must be known, but, because of the dependency of this relation to boundary conditions and size,

the problem is not easily solved. Moreover, solving the

problem by means of numerical continuum. mechanics, brings in a wealth of numerical problems, which

might be overcome or simply avoided. when the physics

of the fracture phenomenon are incorporated in the

description of the material. Microfracturing and crack

growth are at the heart of the problem, and cause the

curvilinear shape of the stress]strain curve.

In this paper we will initially assume that everything

can be computed. More and more detail is brought in.

Immediately thereafter we will regard these matters

from the other perspective, and will argue that

knowledge of fracture mechanisms is essential to apply

fracture mechanics: an engineering approach where

judgement and intuition play a major role This seems

particularly so when we want to engineer new materials. Judgement is essential there as well, because we

are essentially facing a major design task.

2.1. Numerical simulation: elasticity

Concrete is a composite material. Calculating

Youngs modulus of the composite has been attempted

for several decades. Knowledge of the phase composition of the concrete, as well as of the properties of the

separate phases, may } if thought mathematically

sound } help to compute the overall stiffness of a

representative volume element RVE.. The definition

of the RVE is important. Normally it is claimed that

when the ratio between the smallest element size and

largest material entity for example a pore, air bubble

or aggregate particle. is larger than a certain minimum

number, usually 3]5, the material can be considered as

a continuum. The simplest estimates for the composite

stiffness are obtained with a series or parallel spring

model of a two-phase model i.e. the bond zone is not

incorporated.. According to the series model, the composite stiffness of a two-phase material composed of

aggregate a. and matrix m. material is equal to

V

V

1

s aq m,

Ec

Ea

Em

1.

aggregate and matrix phase, and Ec , Ea and Em are

Youngs moduli of the composite material, the aggregate and matrix phases. The parallel model reads as

follows,

Ec s Va Ea q Vm Em

2.

two extremes between which Youngs modulus of the

real composite would lie. In the 1960s see the overview

by Newman w3x., many more refined models were developed such as the Counto and Hirsch models, which are

essentially combinations of the series and parallel models. Quite well known also are the Hashin]Shtrikman

upper and lower bounds w4x. With the development of

numerical tools, the computation of Youngs modulus

of the composite can be based on the real material

structure. A technique which we have used in the

Stevin laboratory w5x, and which was based on developments in theoretical physics e.g. w6x. is the so-called

lattice model. The material is schematised as a regular

or random network of elastic, purely brittle beam elements. Earlier a similar network method was proposed

for estimating the solutions of problems in elasticity by

Hrennikoff w7x. The results presented below can also be

obtained with conventional finite element methods, for

example by means of simple triangular plane stress

elements. After generating a triangular grid of nodes,

the connectivity with beam elements truss elements

would suffice for the example as well. is made. Next the

particle structure of the concrete is described, either by

means of a probability density function of a distribution

of particles often represented by circles. in a plane, or

by means of a digital image of a planar cross-section of

a real concrete w8x. The material structure and lattice

are then superimposed on each other, and lattice elements falling in certain areas defined by the aggregate

circles are given the properties of the aggregate,

whereas the lattice elements falling in the matrix phase

are given the elastic properties of the matrix. In addition, lattice elements crossing the boundary between

aggregate and matrix are given interface properties.

This latter problem is particularly important for fracture simulations, although some effect of the interface

stiffness on the composite Youngs modulus cannot be

denied e.g. w9x.. The smaller aggregates e.g. - 1 mm.

are usually omitted because a tremendously fine lattice

would be needed to incorporate them in a calculation;

Fig. 1 demonstrates the problem. In this figure a computer-generated particle structure of concrete is shown,

and an overlay was made with a regular triangular

lattice of beam elements with a length of 0.5 and 2.0

mm, respectively w10x. For shorter beam lengths, the

shape of the aggregates is followed more precisely, but

at the cost of a rapidly expanding number of elements,

and thus with increasing computational effort. Comparison of Fig. 1b and c demonstrates that large circular

particles are transformed to irregularly shaped polygons, whereas particles smaller than the beam length

are completely missed. As a consequence the intended

particle density is reduced. Moreover, the particle den-

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

were omitted as well. In Table 1 and Fig. 2 the intended and effective particle densities after omission

of the small particles., and the density after the lattice

overlay are shown. As can be seen, the reduction is

quite large, in particular for very large numbers of

aggregates. The last example, Fig. 2d, was generated by

means of a computer programme developed by Stroeven

and Stroeven w11x. The other distributions were determined by means of a simple programme written by

Schlangen w8x.

Using the particle distributions of Fig. 2, as well as

another set of generated microstructures based on a

subsequent omission of aggregates of a certain size

w10x, Youngs modulus of the composite was computed.

This was done for the case where the aggregate stiffness was larger than the matrix stiffness Ea s 70 GPa

and Em s 25 GPa., as well as for the case where the

aggregate stiffness was smaller than the matrix stiffness

Ea s 10 GPa and Em s 25 GPa.. This first case would

resemble concrete made with, for instance, river gravel

as aggregate material, whereas the second case would

resemble a lightweight concrete with expanded clay

aggregates. The two sets of analyses, i.e. with composites where the aggregates of different sizes are gradually omitted and with composites where the relative

area fraction of aggregate circles of all sizes is varied

wdenoted as lattice model P k .9x, are shown in Fig.

3a,b, together with a comparison with the series and

parallel model, and an approximation following Hashin

w12x. For both composites with low and high stiffness

Table 1

Effective relative aggregate areas for different values of P k

Pk, intended

area s 80 mm2 .

Pk,eff

grains 1 F d

F 16 mm.

Pk,lattice

after overlay.

0.10

0.40

0.70

1.00

0.06

0.32

0.56

0.80

0.03

0.19

0.34

0.48

lie between the two extremes defined by the series and

parallel models. Hashins model also lies between these

two extremes, and the computational outcome comes

close to this generally accepted solution. The relative

aggregate content, which is plotted along the x-axis,

stops at almost 60%. Even with an intended aggregate

fraction P k,intended s 1.0 which would imply only aggregate particles and no matrix material., the real relative

aggregate fraction does not exceed 60%. The reason

for this is that the aggregate remains lumped in circular aggregates, and the space between the aggregates

must be filled with matrix material. If the complete

plane is to be filled with circular particles, a well

defined particle distribution, including the very small

particles all the way down to infinitely small size. must

be included. This would then lead to an exaggerated

small size of the lattice elements in order to include all

these small particles in the analysis. Clearly this is not a

realistic option. Quite remarkable is that in experiments high particle densities also can not be obtained

w13x, simply because not enough matrix is available to

fill all the gaps between the aggregates. As a consequence, porosity is introduced, which tends to reduce

the measured overall Youngs modulus, w13x. Note that

in parallel and series models it is possible to obtain

relative aggregate fractions of 100%. The two fractions

are assumed to be lumped in one element. When the

aggregate fraction is 100%, the composite has become

a continuum consisting of aggregate material only.

In conclusion, it can be stated that the choice for a

distribution of circular aggregates is the limiting factor

for obtaining composites with a high relative aggregate

fraction, at least when limits are set to the smallest

aggregate particle in the distribution. Solving the matter by means of statistical theories would not show the

problem of limiting aggregate densities. In practical

materials, including too much fine grains leads to problems in manufacturing the material in the first place. A

similarity with the numerical simulations is again that

the computation becomes too lengthy, if not impossible

Fig. 1. Computer-generated particle distribution of concrete a. with overlay of a regular triangular lattice b,c.. In b. the length of the lattice

elements is 0.5 mm, in c. the length is 2.0 mm, after Van Mier et al. w10x.

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

Fig. 2. Four different particle distributions with variation of the fraction of rounded aggregates: P k,intended s 0.10 a., 0.40 b., 0.70 c. and 1.00

d., after Van Mier et al. w10x.

small size of the lattice elements must be selected. The

composite Youngs modulus was calculated by means

of a lattice model. However, the same fundamental

problems are encountered when plane stress elements

are used in finite element analysis.

lattice model is to try to compute the strength of a

composite. In that case, not only Youngs moduli of the

Fig. 3. Effect of aggregate content on Youngs overall modulus for the particle composites of Fig. 2. a. The case with Ea s 70 GPa and Em s 25

GPa; b. the case with Ea s 10 GPa and Em s 25 GPa, after Van Mier et al. w10x.

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

the local energy consumption when an element breaks

in the material must de defined too. As mentioned, in

1991 we developed a simple lattice model w5x based on

developments in theoretical physics w6x. In the model,

the lattice elements are Bernoulli beams, and they are

removed from the mesh as soon as the strength threshold is exceeded. In this way purely brittle fracture is

simulated, whereas the analysis remains completely

stepwise. elastic. Three examples of lattice analyses

are shown in Fig. 4. Square plates 80 mm2 . are used

containing a computer-generated particle distribution,

similar to those shown in Fig. 2. The P k,intended-values

for the three analyses that are shown here were 0.20,

0.50 and 0.80. The distribution of the lattice elements

over the three phases is shown in Table 2. The total

number of beams in the lattice was 22 114. Table 2

shows both the absolute number of elements in the

three distinct phases as well as the relative number of

beams in each phase. The bond strength was 25% of

the matrix strength, whereas the aggregate strength

was double the matrix strength. Note that for a lattice

analysis only the relative strength values are of importance w5x. The matrix and bond zone Youngs modulus

was 25 GPa, whereas for the aggregate beams Ea s 70

GPa was assumed. In Fig. 4a,b the crack patterns at

peak load Fpeak . and at a Fpeak in the descending

branch are shown, respectively. The value of a differed

slightly for the three analyses, namely a s 0.25, 0.24

and 0.19 for P k,intended s 0.20, 0.50 and 0.80, respectively. The pre-peak crack patterns Fig. 4a. show the

beams that were removed, in the post-peak crack patterns Fig. 4b. only the remaining elements are plotted

in the deformed state. In Fig. 5 the three load]deformation diagrams are shown.

The behaviour was completely different in the three

examples. At low 0.20. and middle 0.50. values of

P k,intended quite a number of bond beams must be failed

before the peak-load was reached, but after peak a

clear localised crack developed. At the lowest P k,intended ,

the aggregates are rather isolated in the matrix. Table

2 shows that only 8% of the beams are inside the

aggregates, whereas the matrix makes up 80% of the

number of beams. Seldom do particles touch or distances smaller than one lattice element between the

differences in stiffness, stress concentrations will appear in the interfaces between aggregates and matrix,

and this is where the first cracks will develop. This can

be seen from the crack patterns in Fig. 4, in particular

for the lowest and middle aggregate content. When

P k,intended is increased to 0.50, the amount of aggregate

triples, whereas a spectacular decrease of matrix beams

is found. The number of bond beams increases as well,

namely to 30%. The increasing amount of bond beams

leads to a higher percentage of initial bond cracks, but

because the different bond cracks are separated by

stronger matrix elements, the external load still has to

be increased to enforce further crack propagation.

Thus, cracking is still stable at this stage. However, in

the third analysis, with P k,intended s 0.80, the situation

changes dramatically. The matrix phase has decreased

to 16% of the total number of beams, whereas the

bond zone has increased markedly again i.e. to 44%..

The result is that continuous patterns of connected

bond zones are present in the concrete structure. In

other words, we have exceeded the percolation threshold. If the first cracks appear in such a continuous bond

zone, rapid crack propagation cannot be avoided because all the neighbouring bond elements have a low

strength as well, whereas a local stress concentration

appears where the first beam was removed. In other

words, a crack is propagating in a homogeneous bond

zone where the only deviations are caused by the

positions of stiff particles. The bond zone spans the

width of the specimen because the percolation threshold was exceeded. The local situation determines

whether the crack will propagate or whether more

isolated cracks will develop. Fig. 4a shows that for the

highest aggregate content obviously a situation above

the percolation threshold has been created. Only three

elements are broken at the peak, all the rest follow in

the descending branch. One of the conclusions that can

be drawn on the basis of these three simulations is that

of controlling the amount of aggregates, as well as the

number of weak interface elements may lead to an

increased interval of stable crack propagation where at

any step the external load must be increased again

before the next element fractures. The load]deformation diagram for the low and middle aggregate content

Table 2

Absolute and relative number of beams in different phases the total number of lattice elements beams. is 22 114.

Pk,intended

0.20

0.50

0.80

Aggregate

Bond

Matrix

Aggregate

Bond

Matrix

1741

5163

8759

2668

6707

9815

17 705

10 244

3540

0.08

0.24

0.40

0.12

0.30

0.44

0.80

0.46

0.16

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

Fig. 4. Crack patterns at peak load a. and at the end of the simulation b. for three different aggregate contents from left to right

P k,intended s 0.20, 0.50 and 0.80, respectively..

pronounced in comparison to the high aggregate content 0.80.. There is also a marked difference in peak

strength. The strength of the low aggregate specimen

0.20. is governed by the strong ligaments between the

isolated. weak bond zones, whereas in the high aggregate case 0.80. continuous patterns of low-strength

interface elements control the specimen behaviour

completely.

Note that after the first matrix beam has been failed

in the low aggregate simulation 0.20., failure is imminent. In this case, the matrix material has exceeded its

percolation threshold, and a continuous path of matrix

material will span the specimens width. The situation is

identical to the case where a high aggregate content is

present 0.80., but there } as argued before } the

bond elements have exceeded their percolation threshold.

Fig. 5. Load]deformation diagrams for the three analyses of Fig. 4: a. P k,intended s 0.20, b. 0.50, and c. 0.80.

10

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

load]deformation response

These simulations create an artificial world, and it

remains to be investigated to what extent the computational results resemble reality. Some features of the

fracture process have been observed before. For example the propagation of the macroscopic crack through

the specimens cross-section was found in photo-elastic

coating experiments on concrete and mortar plates w14x.

In Fig. 6 a result from such a test is shown. In this case,

a major crack runs from the left side of the specimen,

whereas a second minor crack develops from the other

side. Notches were made in the specimen for test

control purposes. The fine detail in the macro-crack

cannot be revealed from the photo-elastic coating experiments.

For revealing more detail in the fracture process

other techniques are needed. The first, and most easy

to perform is the impregnation technique. Specimens

are fractured until a certain crack width has been

reached, and subsequently the fractured specimen is

filled with fluorescent epoxy. After the epoxy has hardened, the specimen is cut open, and fine detail in the

crack patterns can be visualised under ultra-violet light;

an example is given in Fig. 7. Two crack patterns are

shown, i.e. in lytag concrete Fig. 7a. and in highstrength concrete Fig. 7b.. The patterns show small

scale overlaps between cracks, similar to the crack

overlap that was observed in Fig. 6. Increasing the

observing the fracturing process under an optical microscope reveals more of these bridges. Failure of the

bridges occurs when one of the crack branches grows

and coalesces in the wake of the second crack. The

same mechanism is found in the numerical simulations,

as can be observed from Fig. 4b. The overlap mechanism, at least when viewed at the macro-scale Fig. 6.,

depends on the actual boundary conditions imposed

during the test. Would the specimen ends be allowed to

rotate freely, the large scale overlap would not have

developed, but at the scale of the aggregates mesolevel., the mechanism would appear again w15x. The

number of these overlaps, plus their size relative to the

specimen size determines how much load can be carried in the tail of the softening diagram.

The size of the crack overlap also determines the

global curvatures in the crack pattern. Obviously, after

the specimen has been fully fractured this is a complicated undulating surface. Projecting the crack patterns

from different slices on a plane will reveal the band

width as shown in Fig. 8. The band width changes for

different concretes. As a matter of fact, the larger the

size of stiff and strong aggregate in the mixture, the

wider the crack band. For 2-mm cement mortar a very

narrow crack band is found, the next is lytag concrete

which contained 12-mm lytag particles and sand with

particles up to 4 mm. Fig. 7a clearly shows that the

cracks in lytag concrete will intersect the lytag particles

which appear as the large speckled circular areas in

Fig. 6. Photo-elastic coating experiment on a double-edge-notched concrete plate subjected to uniaxial tension uniform boundary displacement..

In a. ] c. the propagating cracks are visualised, d. shows a comparison of the photo-elastic crack path and the crack trajectory after complete

failure of the specimen. In e. the load]deformation curve is shown, after Van Mier w15x.

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

11

Fig. 8. Crack bands for 2-mm mortar a., 16-mm concrete b., lytag

light- weight concrete c., and high-strength concrete d., from Van

Mier w15x.

crack branching in high strength concrete b., from impregnation

tests of Van Mier w15x.

the larger stiff sand particles. This latter phenomenon

can also be seen in Fig. 7a. The largest crack band

width is found for 16-mm normal and high-strength

concrete. It is generally known that the interface in

normal strength concrete is the weakest link in the

material. By adding condensed silica fume to obtain

high-strength concrete, it is expected that not only the

density of the concrete is improved, but that also the

interface strength increases. For the high-strength concrete which has a compressive strength of approx. 88

MPa. of Fig. 7b and Fig. 8d this was obviously not the

case, and cracks were found to grow along the interface

of the aggregate particles. This explains why the crack

band width is almost similar in the normal and highstrength 16-mm concretes.

The crack band width in Fig. 8 should not give the

impression that at each cross-section of the specimen

this width would be found. It is emphasised that the

crack pattern shows the global undulations of the

three-dimensional crack as if we were looking through

the specimen. Using X-ray techniques, similar observations can be made. For example in Otsuka et al. w16x

and Landis and Nagy w17x results from recent X-ray

imaging experiments are shown, which give the same

impression as Fig. 8. The X-ray results confirm the

findings of the earlier impregnation experiments.

Other techniques to detect internal cracking in concrete and rock include acoustic monitoring, for example by means of acoustic emission AE. w16,18x or

ultrasonic pulse technique w19x. By means of ultrasonic

pulses, reflection and diffraction patterns are mea-

about crack patterns. For the ultrasonic pulse technique pre-existing cracks can be measured as well.

Using AE, energy bursts from crack propagation by

detecting the vibrations by means of detectors that are

fixed at the specimens surface are analysed. The simplest method is to count the number of events above a

certain threshold. By fixing more transducers to the

specimen a location analysis can be carried out, whereas

by means of a moment tensor analysis conclusions can

be drawn about the nature of the event mode I or

mixed modes I and II, etc.; see Ohtsus paper in this

special issue..

There seems to exist a relationship between the

number of beams removed in a simple lattice model for

fracture as described above. and the number of AE

events recorded during a fracture experiment Karihaloo, private communication.1. It is normal procedure

to record only the events above a certain threshold.

The removal of a beam from the lattice represents

brittle crack propagation. The dissipation of a small

amount of energy occurs, which is represented by the

area under the local linear. stress]strain diagram see

Fig. 9a.. This energy dissipation seems equivalent to an

acoustic event. The threshold value in the lattice model

is represented by the size of the beam in the lattice,

whereas in the AE analysis, the energy level is specified

e.g. see w16x..

In Fig. 9b the cumulative removal of beams for the

three lattice analyses of Figs. 4 and 5 are shown. The

first removals occur after approximately 3 m m of deformation. After that the number gradually increases until

a distinct plateau is reached. Depending on the value

1

The resemblance between AE activity and the stepwise removal

of beams was suggested by Prof. Karihaloo.

12

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

Fig. 9. Energy dissipation from a single beam removal in the lattice model a., and number of elements removed plotted against deformation for

the three analyses of Fig. 4 b..

Their value is governed by the actual fracture process,

which was shown to vary widely for the three analyses.

After the kink, a complete macroscopic crack pattern is

present, and the last removals of lattice elements occurs when the bridges in the main crack fail. The

number of AE events against axial deformation in a

uniaxial tension test has the same shape see Fig. 10

which has been reproduced from Wissing w20x..

The type of fracture law can be changed in the

lattice model, and can perhaps be related to specific

AE events. The similarity should be further elucidated

in the future. Extension to compressive failure can be

done by considering the details of the fracture process

along the same lines as shown here for tension w15x.

of compression

The above discussion is related to what happens

arrivals. against deformation for a uniaxial tensile test, from Wissing

w20x.

application, the design of new concrete materials is

mentioned. Analysing the mechanical behaviour is just

a small part of the design of the new composite. In the

end, the material must also be manufactured and applied in structures. For structural analysis, considering

the details of the fracture process is not practical, at

least at present, and we are mainly interested in the

validity of the macroscopic material laws that are used.

This implies that we are interested in tensile stress]

deformation diagrams as well as compressive stress]

deformation diagrams. Note that for fully three-dimensional codes information about the multiaxial behaviour is needed, including of course detailed

knowledge about the softening behaviour.

At the macroscopic level, the use of the fictitious

crack model w21x, or the related crack band model w22x

is quite popular. In the fictitious crack model, the

tensile diagram is separated in a pre-peak stress]strain

curve and a post-peak stress]crack opening diagram.

The opening of a tensile crack forms a discontinuity in

the strain field in a tensile bar as shown in Fig. 6.

Along the same lines, the compressive diagram must be

split in a pre-peak stress]strain curve and a post-peak

stress]displacement diagram because here also localisation of deformations has been observed w23x. The

RILEM TC 148 SSC Strain Softening of Concrete has

recently paid attention to this phenomenon in an extensive Round Robin test on fracture under uniaxial

compression w24x. Basically the separation of the compressive diagram in a pre- and post-peak curve was

confirmed for a large range of concretes. The type of

loading platen used in the tests was found to have a

significant effect on stress, but the localisation phenomenon was always found. In a uniaxial compressive

test, the amount of boundary restraint has a significant

effect on the measured compressive strength. The

strength is overestimated when rigid steel platens are

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

between the loading platen and the concrete, a size-independent compressive strength is measured w24x. This

makes one wonder about claims about size effect on

compressive strength. The difference between uniaxial

compressive tests on prisms of different slenderness

loaded between low friction teflon. and high friction

steel. loading platens is shown in Fig. 11. The question

must now be posed which diagram should be used in

structural analysis of reinforced concrete structures.

An example is currently worked out by RILEM TC 148

SSC, and concerns the behaviour of an over-reinforced

concrete beam which fails in the compression zone.

Researchers were asked to predict the behaviour of the

beam given the two different softening diagrams for

uniaxial compression i.e. one determined between steel

platens, the other between low friction teflon platens,

both on prisms with slenderness 2.0., as well as the

tensile softening behaviour of the concrete and the

stress]strain curves for the reinforcing steel w25x. The

results were discussed during the third International

Conference on Fracture Mechanics of Concrete Structures FraMCoS-3., and some of the contributions appear in the proceedings of this meeting w26x. A comparison will be published in the near future w27x.

The same question, i.e. which diagram should be

used for structural analysis, can be posed for the tensile

softening diagram also, although due to the impressive

amount of research carried out in the past decades,

much is known already. The use of benchmark problems is encouraged, because in this way the certainty

about the best input parameters in the numerical

models used can only improve.

4. Conclusion

In this paper methods for determining the mechanical properties of materials are debated. In design,

knowledge of the properties of materials is essential.

Depending on the stage at which the design is, the

13

of detail. Determining the material properties of concrete, in particular the fracture properties is not

straightforward. The result is always affected by size

and boundary condition effects, whereas the influence

of moisture distributions cannot be neglected either.

The latter point has not been discussed in the present

paper, but can be found elsewhere, e.g. Foure

w28x.

It seems that the certainty about the material models

could be improved by adding an increasing amount of

detail. In practice it means that where the engineering

models were used traditionally at the macro-level continuum., now one reverts to more scientific approaches,

for example by stepping down to the meso- or even to

the micro-level. At these levels numerical models are a

practical tool to arrive at some solution. Whether this

is the real world or just an artefact of our imagination

must be settled by experiment. The alternative approach is to apply statistical models, e.g. Dyskin w29x,

where the information about the internal material

structure is dealt with in a rather indirect way. In that

case however, many aspects found in a direct simulation are missed because they are in some sense

smeared over a basic area or volume.

As mentioned, the role of experiment is important. It

is interesting to note that limits reached in generating

the numerical material structures seem to correspond

to limits reached in manufacturing real materials. The

example given in the paper is the density of particles in

a mixture that can be encircled with a continuous

matrix. Other features of the fracture process from the

numerical simulations are recognised in experiments as

well. They are non-uniform macro-crack growth and

crack face bridging in specimens subjected to uniaxial

tension. These specific crack features lead to size-dependent and boundary condition-dependent results. In

compression, similar phenomena are observed although

some of the details are different because friction plays

a larger role. The use of benchmark problems and

blind Round Robins may help to improve the accuracy

of material properties used at the macroscopic level.

Fig. 11. Effect of specimen slenderness and boundary restraint on the stress]strain diagram in uniaxial compression w24x.

14

J.G.M. an Mier, M.R.A. an Vliet r Construction and Building Materials 13 (1999) 3]14

Thus, a close interaction between experiment and computation seems essential for improving the reliability of

the numerical models, which in the end should hopefully lead to qualitative better designs. However, let us

not forget the role of engineering judgement as a

crucial human role in the process. This role remains

vague to date, in particular it is ignored in so-called

rational approaches. However, it should get more attention in the future.

w14x

w15x

w16x

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