Modelling of damage and fracture processes

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Overview

The investigation and modelling of damage and fracture processes have been important topics in mechanics and civil engineering for decades. Growing knowledge about the physical backgrounds of such processes as well as the steadily increasing computing power of modern computers make it possible to perform ever more sophisticated finite element simulations of the failure behavior of complex structures. In this way, for example, realistic lifetime predictions can be made for these structures. This is of practical interest not only from an academic, but also from an economic and safety point of view.

The aim of the work group is the development and application of innovative multi-scale modelling techniques for the description of different failure processes in arbitrary materials. Examples are the investigation of novel cohesive zone formulations for the prediction of the damage and fracture behavior in nanostructured composites, the development of non-local anisotropic damage models for elasto-viscoplastic materials based on modern continuum mechanics or the atomistically calibrated phase field modelling of anisotropic crack propagation in heterogeneous metal and composite materials.

Besides the theoretical development, a further focus is on a robust and efficient numerical implementation of these models. Topics such as ensuring the mesh independence of finite element results and the application of special finite element technology to avoid artificial 'locking effects' play a role.