Application of a mesh-free method to modelling brittle fracture and fragmentation of a concrete column during projectile impact

  • Das, Raj (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Auckland) ;
  • Cleary, Paul W. (CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics)
  • Received : 2014.08.08
  • Accepted : 2015.11.09
  • Published : 2015.12.25


Damage by high-speed impact fracture is a dominant mode of failure in several applications of concrete structures. Numerical modelling can play a crucial role in understanding and predicting complex fracture processes. The commonly used mesh-based Finite Element Method has difficulties in accurately modelling the high deformation and disintegration associated with fracture, as this often distorts the mesh. Even with careful re-meshing FEM often fails to handle extreme deformations and results in poor accuracy. Moreover, simulating the mechanism of fragmentation requires detachment of elements along their boundaries, and this needs a fine mesh to allow the natural propagation of damage/cracks. Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) is an alternative particle based (mesh-less) Lagrangian method that is particularly suitable for analysing fracture because of its capability to model large deformation and to track free surfaces generated due to fracturing. Here we demonstrate the capabilities of SPH for predicting brittle fracture by studying a slender concrete structure (column) under the impact of a high-speed projectile. To explore the effect of the projectile material behaviour on the fracture process, the projectile is assumed to be either perfectly-elastic or elastoplastic in two separate cases. The transient stress field and the resulting evolution of damage under impact are investigated. The nature of the collision and the constitutive behaviour are found to considerably affect the fracture process for the structure including the crack propagation rates, and the size and motion of the fragments. The progress of fracture is tracked by measuring the average damage level of the structure and the extent of energy dissipation, which depend strongly on the type of collision. The effect of fracture property (failure strain) of the concrete due to its various compositions is found to have a profound effect on the damage and fragmentation pattern of the structure.


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