Acoustic emission at failure in quasi-brittle materials

Joseph F. Labuz, Sara Cattaneo, Li Hsien Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Development of failure in quasi-brittle materials is associated with microcracks, which release energy in the form of elastic waves called acoustic emission. From three types of tests - diametral compression, flexure and indentation - on specimens of high strength concrete, locations of acoustic emission were observed to form in the critically stressed region in a more or less diffuse manner for stress below the material's strength. However, as damage increased and peak stress was reached, a coalescence or localization of damage occurred and the zone formed a distinct volume, the so-called intrinsic process zone. Typically, the zone was similar in length for specimens of various size. Thus, it appeared that the acoustic emission technique was able to identify a characteristic length of the quasi-brittle material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages9
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial support was provided by the National Science Foundation grant number CMS-0070062.


  • Acoustic emission
  • Characteristic length
  • Size effect


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