Numerical study on crack thermal resistance effect on thermo-mechanical coupled behavior of concrete structure at room temperature

Lei Shen, Qingwen Ren*, Gianluca Cusatis, Maosen Cao, Lei Xu, Yin Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cracking behavior in massive concrete structure is inescapable. Cracks would impair the thermal conduction ability of concrete and indirectly induce temperature redistributions, which, in this study, is termed “Crack Thermal Resistance (CTR) effect”. In order to evaluate the influence of CTR on massive concrete structure, a specific thermo-mechanical (TM) coupled model at room temperature, featuring with the evolution of concrete thermal conductivity during material fracture, is proposed based on the thermodynamic principle and concrete damage plastic model. This coupled model is coded as subroutines in ABAQUS and the implementation validated by an uniaxial cyclic test of a single element and a double edge notched specimen (DENS) test. In the DENS numerical test, it is observed that CTR effect can cause heat flux turbulences around cracking area, leading to redistributions of temperature. As a consequence, the stress field and crack opening change around the cracking area as well. In the end, this model is applied to investigate the influence of CTR on the TM coupled behavior of a gravity dam under a long term operation period thermal load. The comparison between the simulations with and without CTR effect demonstrates that (a) CTR effect has a negative effect on structure interior crack propagation, because thermal resistances near dam toe protect the dam from the downstream environment temperature shock; (b) CTR effect can induce redistributions of stress field around the crack area, but the difference in stress field does not affect the compressive stress state on dam-foundation interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Concrete
  • Crack thermal resistance
  • Damage plastic model
  • Stress redistribution
  • Thermo-mechanical coupled

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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