Department of Mechanics: Seminar: Zdeněk Bažant 2022

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Critical Comparison of Phase-Field, Peridynamics, and Crack Band Model M7 in Light of Gap Test and Classical Fracture Tests

Zdeněk P. Bažant, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

1 June 2022, 10:00-11:00 CET, Room B-168 @ Thákurova 7, 166 29 Prague 6


The recently conceived gap test and its simulation revealed that the fracture energy Gf (or Kc, Jcr) of concrete, plastic-hardening metals, composites, and probably most materials can change by ±100%, depending on the crack-parallel stresses σxx, σzz, and their history. Therefore, one must consider not only a finite length but also a finite width of the fracture process zone, along with its tensorial damage behavior. The data from this test, along with ten other classical tests important for fracture problems (nine on concrete, one on sand- stone), are optimally fitted to evaluate the performance of the state-of-art phase-field, peri-dynamic, and crack band models. Thanks to its realistic boundary and crack-face conditions as well as its tensorial nature, the crack band model, combined with the micro-plane damage constitutive law in its latest version M7, is found to fit all data well. On the contrary, the phase-field models perform poorly. Peridynamic models (both bond based and state based) perform even worse. The recent correction in the bond-associated deformation gradient helps to improve the predictions in some experiments, but not all. This confirms the previous strictly theoretical critique (JAM 2016), which showed that peridynamics of all kinds suffers from several conceptual faults: (1) It implies a lattice microstructure; (2) its particle–skipping interactions are a fiction; (4) it ignores shear-resisted particle rotations (which are what lends the lattice discrete particle model (LDPM) its superior performance); (3) its representation of the boundaries, especially the crack and fracture process zone faces, is physically unrealistic; and (5) it cannot reproduce the transitional size effect—a quintessential characteristic of quasibrittleness. The misleading practice of “verifying” a model with only one or two simple tests matchable by many different models, or showcasing an ad hoc improvement for one type of test while ignoring misfits of others, is pointed out. In closing, the ubiquity of crack-parallel stresses in practical problems of concrete, shale, fiber composites, plastic-hardening metals, and materials on submicrometer scale is emphasized.


Born and educated in Prague (Ph.D. 1963), Bažant joined Northwestern in 1969, where he has been W.P. Murphy Professor since 1990 and simultaneously McCormick Institute Professor since 2002, and Director of Center for Concrete and Geomaterials (1981-87). He was inducted to NAS, NAE, Am. Acad. of Arts & Sci., Royal Soc. London, the national academies of Austria, Japan, Italy, Spain, Canada, Czech Rep., Greece, India and Lombardy, and Academia Europaea. Honorary Member of: ASCE, ASME, ACI, RILEM. Received Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art I. Class from Pres. of Austria; 7 honorary doctorates (Prague, Karlsruhe, Colorado, Milan, Lyon, Vienna, Ohio State); ASME Medal, ASME Timoshenko, Nadai and Warner Medals; ASCE von Kármán, Freudenthal, Newmark, Biot, Mindlin, TY Lin and Croes Medals, SES Prager Medal; Outstanding Res. Award from Am. Soc. for Composites; RILEM L’Hermite Medal; Exner Medal (Austria); Torroja Medal (Madrid); etc. He authored nine books on Scaling of Struct. Strength, Creep in Concrete Str., Inelastic Analysis, Fracture and Size Effect, Stability of Structures, Concrete at High Temp., Creep & Hygrothermal Effects, Probab. Mech. of Quasibrittle Str. and Qasibrittle Fracture. H-index: 140, citations: 85,000 (Google). In 2019 Stanford U. weighted citation survey (see PLoS), he was ranked no.1 in CE and no.2 in Engrg. worldwide. In 2015, ASCE established ZP Bažant Medal for Failure and Damage Prevention. His 1959 mass-produced patent of safety ski binding is exhibited in New England Ski Museum, Franconia, NH.

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