Viscous energy dissipation of kinetic energy of particles comminuted by high-rate shearing in projectile penetration, with potential ramification to gas shale

Yewang Su, Zdeněk P. Bažant*, Youxuan Zhao, Marco Salviato, Kedar Kirane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While dynamic comminution is of interest to many processes and situations, this work is focused on the projectile impact onto concrete walls, in which predictions have been hampered by the problem of the so-called ‘dynamic overstress’. Recently, in analogy with turbulence, Bažant and Caner modeled the overstress as an additional viscous stress generated by apparent viscosity that accounts for the energy dissipation due to kinetic comminution of concrete into small particles at very high shear strain rate. Their viscosity estimation, however, was approximate since it did not satisfy the energy balance exactly. Here their model is extended and refined by ensuring that the drop of local kinetic energy of high shear strain rate of forming particles must be exactly equal to the energy dissipated by interface fracture of these particles. The basic hypothesis is that the interface fracture occurs instantly, as soon as the energy balance is satisfied. Like in the preceding work, this additional apparent viscosity is a power function of the rate of the deviatoric strain invariant. But here the power exponent is different, equal to $$-7/3$$-7/3, and the apparent viscosity is found to be proportional also to the time derivative of the rate of that invariant, i.e., to the second derivative of the shear strain. It is assumed that the interface fracture that comminutes the material into small particles occurs instantly, as soon as the local kinetic energy of shear strain rate in the forming particles becomes equal to the energy required to form interface fractures. The post-comminution behavior, including subsequent further comminution and clustering into bigger particle groups to release the kinetic energy that is being dissipated by inter-group friction, is discussed and modeled. The present formulation makes it possible to eliminate the artificial damping of all types, which is normally embedded in commercial finite element codes but is not predictive since it is not justified physically. With the aforementioned improvements, and after implementation into the new microplane model M7 for fracturing damage in concrete (which includes the quasi-static rate effects), the finite element predictions give superior agreement with the measured exit velocities of steel projectiles penetrating concrete walls of different thicknesses and with the measured depths of penetration into concrete blocks by projectiles of different velocities. Finally it is pointed out that the theory presented may also be used to predict proximate fragmentation and permeability enhancement of gas shale by powerful electric pulsed-arc explosions in the borehole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 26 2015


  • Comminution
  • Concrete
  • Dynamic fracture
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Fragmentation
  • Gas shale
  • High strain rate
  • Impact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanics of Materials


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