Size Effect in Fracture of Concrete Specimens and Structures: New Problems and Progress

Z. P. Bažant, Q. Yu


Presented is a concise summary of recent Northwestern University studies of six new problems. First, the decrease of fracture energy during crack propagation through a boundary layer, documented by Hu and Wittmann, is shown to be captured by a cohesive crack model in which the softening tail slope depends on the distance from the boundary (which causes an apparent size effect on fracture energy and implies that the nonlocal damage model is more fundamental than the cohesive crack model). Second, an improved universal size effect law giving a smooth transition between failures at large cracks (or notches) and at crack initiation is presented. Third, a recent renewed proposal that the nominal strength variation as a function of notch depth be used for measuring fracture energy is critically examined. Fourth, numerical results and a formula describing the size effect of finite-angle notches are presented. Fifth, a new size effect law derivation from dimensional analysis coupled with asymptotic matching is given. Finally, an improved code-type formula for shear capacity of R.C. beams is proposed. 


size effect; scaling; fracture mechanics; cohesive cracks; quasibrittle materials; concrete

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague