Computational model of ceramic microstructures subjected to multi-axial dynamic loading

P. D. Zavattieri*, P. V. Raghuram, H. D. Espinosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


A model is presented for the dynamic finite element analysis of ceramic microstructures subjected to multi-axial dynamic loading. This model solves an initial-boundary value problem using a multi-body contact model integrated with interface elements to simulate microcracking at grain boundaries and subsequent large sliding, opening and closing of microcracks. An explicit time integration scheme is adopted to integrate the system of spatially discretized ordinary differential equations. A systematic and parametric study of the effect of interface element parameters, grain anisotropy, stochastic distribution of interface properties, grain size and grain morphology is carried out. Numerical results are shown in terms of microcrack patterns and evolution of crack density, i.e., damage kinetics. The brittle behavior of the microstructure as the interfacial strength decreases is investigated. Crack patterns on the representative volume element vary from grains totally detached from each other to a few short cracks, nucleated at voids, except, for the case of microstructures with initial flaws. Grain elastic anisotropy seems to play an important role in microfracture presenting higher values of crack density than the isotropic case. The computational results also show that decreasing the grain size results in a decrease in crack density per unit area at equal multiaxial dynamic loading. Histograms of crack density distribution are presented for the study of the stochasticity of interface parameters. Finally, a strong dependency with grain shape is observed for different microstructures generated using Voronoi Tessellation. The micromechanical model here discussed allows the study of material pulverization upon unloading. The qualitative and quantitative results presented in this article are useful in developing more refined continuum theories on fracture properties of ceramics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-68
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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