Modeling and computing based on lattices
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This dissertation presents three studies addressing various modeling and computational aspects of lattice structures. The first study is concerned with characterization of the threshold behavior for very slow (subcritical) crack growth. First, it is shown that this behavior requires the presence of a healing mechanism. Then thermodynamic analysis of brittle fracture specimens near the threshold developed by Rice (1978) is extended to specimens undergoing microstructural changes. This extension gives rise to a generalization of the threshold concept that mirrors the way the resistance R-curve generalizes the fracture toughness. In the absence of experimental data, the resistance curve near the threshold is constructed using a lattice model that includes healing and rupture mechanisms. The second study is concerned with transmission of various boundary conditions through irregular lattices. The boundary conditions are parameterized using trigonometric Fourier series, and it is shown that, under certain conditions, transmission through irregular lattices can be well approximated by that through classical continuum. It is determined that such transmission must involve the wavelength of at least 12 lattice spacings; for smaller wavelength classical continuum approximations become increasingly inaccurate. Also it is shown that this restriction is much more severe than that associated with identifying the minimum size for representative volume elements. The third study is concerned with extending the use of boundary algebraic equations to problems involving irregular rather than regular lattices. Such an extension would be indispensable for solving multiscale problems defined on irregular lattices, as boundary algebraic equations provide seamless bridging between discrete and continuum models. It is shown that, in contrast to regular lattices, boundary algebraic equations for irregular lattices require a statistical rather than deterministic treatment. Furthermore, boundary algebraic equations for irregular lattices contain certain terms that require the same amount of computational effort as the original problem.