Energy approach to crack growth in a fiber-reinforced brittle material modeled by an inclusion

U. Tzadka, K. Schulgasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Brittle materials randomly reinforced with a low volume fraction of strong, stiff and ductile fibers are considered, with specific reference to fiber-reinforced cements and concrete. Visible cracks in such materials are accompanied by a surrounding damage zone - together these constitute a very complex "crack system". Enormous effort has been put into trying to understand the micromechanics of such systems. Almost all of these efforts do not deal with the "crack system" propagation behavior as a whole. The propagation process of such a "crack system" includes propagation of the visible crack and the growth of the damage zone. Propagation may take place by lengthening of the visible crack together with the concomitant lengthening of the surrounding damage zone, or simply by broadening of the damage zone while the visible crack length remains unchanged - or simultaneously by growth of both types. A phenomenological completely theoretical model (for an ideal material) is here proposed which can serve to examine the propagation process by means of energy principles, without recourse to the microscopic details of the process. An application of this theoretical approach is presented for the case of a damage zone evolving with a rectangular shape. This shape is chosen because it is expected that it will illustrate the nature of damage evolution and because the computational procedure necessary to follow the growth is the most straightforward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalTheoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • Brittle matrix composites
  • Crack propagation
  • Crack system
  • Fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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