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Guiding and Trapping Cracks With Compliant Inclusions for Enhancing Toughness of Brittle Composite Materials

Brodnik, Neal R. and Hsueh, Chun-Jen and Faber, Katherine T. and Bourdin, Blaise and Ravichandran, Guruswami and Bhattacharya, Kaushik (2020) Guiding and Trapping Cracks With Compliant Inclusions for Enhancing Toughness of Brittle Composite Materials. Journal of Applied Mechanics, 87 (3). Art. No. 031018. ISSN 0021-8936. doi:10.1115/1.4045682.

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The problem of toughening heterogeneous materials with a stiff matrix and compliant inclusions is investigated through numerical simulations and experiments. Specifically, the problem of optimizing a combination of effective toughness and effective elastic modulus in the context of a square array of compliant inclusions in a stiff matrix is explored. Crack propagation in the heterogeneous material is simulated using a variational phase-field approach. It is found that the crack can meander between or get attracted to and trapped in the inclusions. Composite specimens with a stiff matrix and compliant circular inclusions were 3D printed, and their fracture toughness was measured using a specially designed loading fixture. The experimental results show agreement with the numerical predictions by demonstrating the attraction and trapping of cracks in the inclusions. This study demonstrates the potential for significant enhancement of toughness through elastic compliance contrast between the matrix and the inclusion without notably compromising the effective elastic modulus of the composite material.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Faber, Katherine T.0000-0001-6585-2536
Ravichandran, Guruswami0000-0002-2912-0001
Bhattacharya, Kaushik0000-0003-2908-5469
Additional Information:© 2020 by ASME. Received: October 31, 2019; Revised: November 28, 2019; Accepted: November 28, 2019; Published: December 12, 2019; Published Online: January 22, 2020. This work draws from the doctoral theses of Chun-Jen Hsueh and Neal Brodnik at the California Institute of Technology, both of whom contributed equally to this work. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the US National Science Foundation (Grant No. DMS-1535083 and 1535076) under the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) Program.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:heterogeneous materials, fracture toughness, phase-field method, additive manufacturing, elastic mismatch
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200430-104816477
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Official Citation:Brodnik, N. R., Hsueh, C., Faber, K. T., Bourdin, B., Ravichandran, G., and Bhattacharya, K. (January 22, 2020). "Guiding and Trapping Cracks With Compliant Inclusions for Enhancing Toughness of Brittle Composite Materials." ASME. J. Appl. Mech. March 2020; 87(3): 031018.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102927
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Apr 2020 17:55
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:16

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