Solid Mechanics and Fracture Mechanics

Key Paper Overviews:

On the correct interpretation of measured force and calculation of material stress in biaxial tests

(A) Contour plot of shear stress (σxy) in a square-like geometry (w0/l0=0Biaxial tests are commonly used to investigate the mechanical behaviour of soft biological tissues and polymers. In the current paper we uncover a fundamental problem associated with the calculation of material stress from measured force in standard biaxial tests. In addition to measured forces, localised unmeasured shear forces also occur at the clamps and the inability to quantify such forces has significant implications for the calculation of material stress from simplified force–equilibrium relationships. Unmeasured shear forces are shown to arise due to two distinct competing contributions: (1) negative shear force due to stretching of the orthogonal clamp, and (2) positive shear force as a result of material Poisson-effect. The clamp shear force is highly dependent on the specimen geometry and the clamp displacement ratio, as consequently, is the measured force–stress relationship. Additionally in this study we demonstrate that commonly accepted formulae for the estimation of material stress in the central region of a cruciform specimen are highly inaccurate. A reliable empirical correction factor for the general case of isotropic materials must be a function of specimen geometry and the biaxial clamp displacement ratio. Finally we demonstrate that a correction factor for the general case of non-linear anisotropic materials is not feasible and we suggest the use of inverse finite element analysis as a practical means of interpreting experimental data for such complex materials.

Link to paper

Potential-based and non-potential-based cohesive zone formulations under mixed-mode separation and over-closure

eamonn cohesiveThis paper presents a thorough analysis of potential-based and non-potential-based cohesive zone models (CZMs) under conditions of mixed-mode separation and mixed-mode over-closure. Problems are identified with the well established potential-based Xu–Needleman (XN) model and a number of new potential-based and non-potential-based models are proposed. It is demonstrated that incorrect weighting of the coupling terms in non-potential models can lead to the existence of a singularity under traction controlled conditions.  It is also demonstrated that the potential-based models fail to capture a gradual change from mode II to mode I work of separation, as reported experimentally for traction controlled interface separation.

In a follow-on Part II companion paper a number of case studies are simulated, demonstrating that the theoretical findings of the present paper have significant implications for the finite element prediction of interface debonding.

Link to paper I

Link to paper II