TY - JOUR

T1 - Computation of probability distribution of strength of quasibrittle structures failing at macrocrack initiation

AU - Le, Jia Liang

AU - Eliáš, Jan

AU - Bažant, Zdenek P.

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Engineering structures must be designed for an extremely low failure probability, Pf < 10-6. To determine the corresponding structural strength, a mechanics-based probability distribution model is required. Recent studies have shown that quasibrittle structures that fail at the macrocrack initiation from a single representative volume element (RVE) can be statistically modeled as a finite chain of RVEs. It has further been demonstrated that, based on atomistic fracture mechanics and a statistical multiscale transition model, the strength distribution of each RVE can be approximately described by a Gaussian distribution, onto which a Weibull tail is grafted at a point of the probability about 10-4 to 10-3. The model implies that the strength distribution of quasibrittle structures depends on the structure size, varying gradually from the Gaussian distribution modified by a far-left Weibull tail applicable for small-size structures, to the Weibull distribution applicable for large-size structures. Compared with the classical Weibull strength distribution, which is limited to perfectly brittle structures, the grafted Weibull-Gaussian distribution of the RVE strength makes the computation of the strength distribution of quasibrittle structures inevitably more complicated. This paper presents two methods to facilitate this computation: (1) for structures with a simple stress field, an approximate closed-form expression for the strength distribution based on the Taylor series expansion of the grafted Weibull-Gaussian distribution; and (2) for structures with a complex stress field, a random RVE placing method based on the centroidal Voronoi tessellation. Numerical examples including three-point and four-point bend beams, and a two-dimensional analysis of the ill-fated Malpasset dam, show that Method 1 agrees well with Method 2 as well as with the previously proposed nonlocal boundary method.

AB - Engineering structures must be designed for an extremely low failure probability, Pf < 10-6. To determine the corresponding structural strength, a mechanics-based probability distribution model is required. Recent studies have shown that quasibrittle structures that fail at the macrocrack initiation from a single representative volume element (RVE) can be statistically modeled as a finite chain of RVEs. It has further been demonstrated that, based on atomistic fracture mechanics and a statistical multiscale transition model, the strength distribution of each RVE can be approximately described by a Gaussian distribution, onto which a Weibull tail is grafted at a point of the probability about 10-4 to 10-3. The model implies that the strength distribution of quasibrittle structures depends on the structure size, varying gradually from the Gaussian distribution modified by a far-left Weibull tail applicable for small-size structures, to the Weibull distribution applicable for large-size structures. Compared with the classical Weibull strength distribution, which is limited to perfectly brittle structures, the grafted Weibull-Gaussian distribution of the RVE strength makes the computation of the strength distribution of quasibrittle structures inevitably more complicated. This paper presents two methods to facilitate this computation: (1) for structures with a simple stress field, an approximate closed-form expression for the strength distribution based on the Taylor series expansion of the grafted Weibull-Gaussian distribution; and (2) for structures with a complex stress field, a random RVE placing method based on the centroidal Voronoi tessellation. Numerical examples including three-point and four-point bend beams, and a two-dimensional analysis of the ill-fated Malpasset dam, show that Method 1 agrees well with Method 2 as well as with the previously proposed nonlocal boundary method.

KW - Composites

KW - Concrete structures

KW - Finite weakest link model

KW - Fracture

KW - Representative volume element

KW - Strength statistics

KW - Structural safety

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U2 - 10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0000396

DO - 10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0000396

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84883292226

VL - 138

SP - 888

EP - 899

JO - Journal of Engineering Mechanics - ASCE

JF - Journal of Engineering Mechanics - ASCE

SN - 0733-9399

IS - 7

ER -