Concrete Fracture: A Multiscale Approach (Hardback) book cover

Concrete Fracture

A Multiscale Approach

By Jan G.M. van Mier

© 2012 – CRC Press

379 pages | 194 B/W Illus.

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About the Book

The study of fracture mechanics of concrete has developed in recent years to the point where it can be used for assessing the durability of concrete structures and for the development of new concrete materials. The last decade has seen a gradual shift of interest toward fracture studies at increasingly smaller sizes and scales. Concrete Fracture: A Multiscale Approach explores fracture properties of cement and concrete based on their actual material structure.

Concrete is a complex hierarchical material, containing material structural elements spanning scales from the nano- to micro- and meso-level. Therefore, multi-scale approaches are essential for a better understanding of mechanical properties and fracture in particular. This volume includes various examples of fracture analyses at the micro- and meso-level. The book presents models accompanied by reliable experiments and explains how these experiments are performed. It also provides numerous examples of test methods and requirements for evaluating quasi-brittle materials. More importantly, it proposes a new modeling approach based on multiscale interaction potential and examines the related experimental challenges facing research engineers and building professionals.

The book’s comprehensive coverage is poised to encourage new initiatives for overcoming the difficulties encountered when performing fracture experiments on cement at the micro-size/scale and smaller. The author demonstrates how the obtained results can fit into the larger picture of the material science of concrete—particularly the design of new high-performance concrete materials which can be put to good use in the development of efficient and durable structures.

Table of Contents

Introduction—Why a New Book on Fracture of Concrete?

Contents per Chapter

Classical Fracture Mechanics Approaches

Stress Concentrations

Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM)

Plastic Crack-Tip Model

Fictitious Crack Model (FCM)

Determination of FCM Parameters

Mechanics Aspects of Lattice Models

Short Introduction to Framework Analysis

Equivalence between a Shell Element and a Simple Truss (Hrennikoff)

Effective Elastic Properties of Beam Lattices

Similarity between Beam Lattice Model and Particle Model

Fracture Criteria

Lattice Geometry and the Structure of Cement and Concrete

Size/Scale Levels for Cement and Concrete

Disorder from Statistical Distributions of Local Properties

Computer-Generated Material Structures

Material Structure from Direct Observation

Lattice Geometry and Material Structure Overlay

Local Material Properties

Elastic Properties of Lattice with Particle Overlay

Upper and Lower Bounds for the Young’s Modulus of Composites

Effective Young’s Modulus of a Two-Phase Aggregate-Matrix Composite

Effective Elastic Properties in Three Dimensions

Fracture of Concrete in Tension

Analysis of Uniaxial Tension Experiments

Fracture Process in Tension

Effect of Particle Density on Tensile Fracture

Small-Particle Effect

Boundary Rotation Effects and Notches

Indirect Tensile Tests

Brazilian Splitting Test


Combined Tensile and Shear Fracture of Concrete

Tension and In-Plane Shear

Biaxial Tension Shear Experiments

4-Point-Shear Beam Test

Anchor Pull-Out

Torsion (Mode III Fracture)

Compressive Fracture

Mesomechanisms in Compressive Fracture

Softening in Compression

Softening as Mode II Crack-Growth Phenomenon

Lattice Approximations

Macroscopic Models

Size Effects

Classical Models Describing Size Effect on Strength

Size Effect on Strength and Deformation: Experiments

Lattice Analysis of Size Effect: Uniaxial Tension

Lattice Analysis of Size Effect: Bending

Damage Distribution in Structures of Varying Size

Concluding Remarks

Four-Stage Fracture Model

Fracture Process in Uniaxial Tension

Stage (0): Elastic Behavior

Stage (A): (Stable) Microcracking

Stage (B): (Unstable) Macrocracking

Stage (C): Crack-Face Bridging

Four Fracture Stages, yet a Continuous Process

Similarity between Tensile and Compressive Fracture

Ramification to Other Materials

Multiscale Modeling and Testing

Structure of Cement at the μm-Scale and Its Properties

The Role of Water at the μm Scale

F-r Potentials: From Atomistic Scale to Larger Scales

Structural Lattice Approach

Conclusions and Outlook

Fracture Mechanisms

Theoretical Models


Appendix 1: Some Notes on Computational Efficiency

Appendix 2: Simple Results from Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics

Appendix 3: Stability of Fracture Experiments

Appendix 4: Crack-Detection Techniques

Appendix 5: Active and Passive Confinement


About the Author

Jan G. M. van Mier received his engineering and Ph.D. degrees from Eindhoven University of Technology. After a postdoctorate year at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he moved to Delft University of Technology. As an associate professor at the Stevin Laboratory, in close cooperation with several Ph.D. students, he developed the Delft lattice model and conducted numerous experiments elucidating the fracture of concrete under a variety of conditions. In 1999, he was appointed "Antonie van Leeuwenhoek" professor at TU Delft, based on excellence in research, and developed and built the new microlab to immerse in fracture studies at smaller size/scales than before. In 2002, he moved to ETH Zurich as full professor and director of the Institute for Building Materials. In 2010, he became president of the International Association for Fracture Mechanics of Concrete and Concrete Structures (IA-FraMCoS).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Construction / General