Identification of concrete fracture parameters through size effect experiments

Luigi Cedolin, Gianluca Cusatis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This paper deals with the identification of concrete fracture parameters through indirect methods based on size effect experiments. These methods utilize the size effect curve (structural strength versus structural size), associated with a certain specimen geometry, to identify the tensile strength and the initial fracture energy. These two parameters, in turn, are typically used to characterize the peak and the initial post-peak slope of the cohesive crack law. In the literature, two different approaches can be found for the calculation of the size effect curve: (a) an approach based on the polynomial interpolation of numerically calculated structural strengths of geometrically similar specimens of different sizes, and (b) the classical approach based on equivalent elastic fracture mechanics, which gives rise to the well-known Bažant's size effect law (SEL). In this paper, the two approaches are first reviewed, the relationship between them is investigated, and a new procedure to identify the tensile strength using the SEL is proposed. Then several sets of experimental results, recently performed at the Politecnico di Milano, are analyzed with both approaches in order to assess their range of applicability and accuracy in the identification of the two fracture parameters specified above.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-797
Number of pages10
JournalCement and Concrete Composites
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Cohesive crack law
  • Concrete
  • Experiments
  • Fracture energy
  • Mode I fracture
  • Parameter identification
  • Size effect
  • Tensile strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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