Effect of nonlinear interface debonding on the constitutive model of composite materials

H. Tan, Y. Huang*, C. Liu, P. H. Geubelle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Interface debonding, which plays an important role in the deformation and fracture of composite materials, can be characterized by a cohesive law. We use a nonlinear cohesive law for the particlematrix interface obtained from experiments to study the effect of interface debonding on the macroscopic behavior of composite materials. The dilute solution is obtained for a composite with spherical particles subject to interface debonding and remote hydrostatic tension. For a composite with a fixed particle volume fraction, particle and matrix properties, and interface cohesive law, different particle sizes may lead to very different macroscopic behaviors, such as hardening of the composite for small particles, softening for medium particles, and unloading for large particles. Two critical particle sizes separating these three scenarios are identified. The composite with particles of the same size as well as the bimodal distribution of particle size is studied, with a focus on the effects of particle size and cohesive energy of the particle/matrix interface. For medium or large particles, the particle/matrix interface may undergo catastrophic debonding, i.e., sudden, dynamic debonding, even under static load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-167
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal for Multiscale Computational Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Cohesive law
  • Interface debonding
  • Nonlinear
  • Particulate composite materials
  • Size effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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