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Modelling for the mechanical behavior of cementitious granular materials

Xiaoxiong Zhong, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Crack damages due to load application are commonly observed in cementitious granular materials such as concrete, cemented sand, and ceramic materials. Previous analytical models for these types of materials have been developed based on continuum mechanics using a phenomenological approach. However, the theories of continuum mechanics have limitations when used for analyzing fracture mechanism and localized damages at a micro-scale level. Therefore, a microstructural approach is desirable for the analysis of these types of materials. In this dissertation, a contact law was derived for the inter-particle behavior of two particles connected by a cement binder. Microcracking process within binder was fully taken into account by regarding crack length as a basic damage factor. The binder initially contains small-size cracks which propagate and grow under external loading. As a result the binder is weakened with lower strength in shear and tension. Theory of fracture mechanics was employed to model the propagation and growth of these microcracks for both the shear fracture mode and normal fracture mode. The contact law was then incorporated in the analysis for the overall damage behaviors of cementitious granular material using the statistical micromechanics approach and the distinct element method. These overall damage behaviors include the stress-strain relationship, fracture strength, development of damage zone, and fatigue deformation. The micro-parameters affecting these behaviors are mainly the microcrack length and density, binder toughness, and binder elastic constants. In the numerical simulations, the cementitious granular materials were represented by 2-D random assemblies of rods bonded by cement binders with preexisting microcracks. Stress-strain relationships were modeled and validated for the uniaxial tension and compression tests, biaxial tension and compression tests, and double cantilever beam test. Force-deflection relationship and fatigue deformation were predicted and validated for the three-point beam tests. The validations tests showed good agreement between the results of numerical simulations and that obtained from available experimental tests. It has been indicated that the proposed models are capable of modeling the mechanical behaviors of cementitious granular materials.

Subject Area

Civil engineering|Mechanical engineering|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Zhong, Xiaoxiong, "Modelling for the mechanical behavior of cementitious granular materials" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9909235.