Studies on strain localization, ductile fracture and damage in structural metals
One of the most important limit states in structural metals is ductile fracture, and the prediction of ductile fracture is of great importance in many engineering applications. The overall objective of the research reported in this dissertation is to advance the understanding and modeling of ductile fracture in metals. This research addresses three main issues: micromechanical modeling of ductile fracture, the development of a micromechanics-based ductile fracture model and its numerical implementation, and a numerical investigation of geometry and damage induced strain localization based on a nonlocal formulation. It has long been recognized that stress triaxiality is a key parameter affecting initiation of ductile fracture. More recently, shear stress has been identified as another important parameter, in addition to stress triaxiality, that influences the process of ductile fracture. In this research, a micromechanics-based model is proposed for predicting initiation of ductile fracture that couples both stress triaxiality and shear stress. The new model is based on a combination of the existing Rice-Tracey and modified maximum shear stress models. The new model is applied to construct the fracture locus of different types of metal alloys and is used to predict fracture initiation by numerical tools. The predicted results are in good agreement with experimental data reported in literature that covers a wide range of triaxialities and shear stress. Another portion of this research, within the framework of micromechanics, investigated the effect of combined normal and shear stress components on micro-void evolution and material behavior. This work involved finite element modeling of a cubic unit cell associated with a spherical void. The results show that the void growth process and macroscopic stress-strain response is highly dependent on the shear stress component. At different ranges of triaxialities, and with different void growth and coalescence mechanisms, shear stress has an important effect on the ductile fracture process. Numerical modeling of strain localization in ductile metals based on standard continuum mechanics exhibits non-convergent mesh sensitivity. This issue is addressed in the final portion of this research. A one-dimensional model based on the nonlocal theory is proposed to analyze geometry-induced strain localization, i.e., necking in structural metals. A nonlocal continuum damage model using the same enhanced continuum law is developed to deal with the damage induced strain localization in metals. Both models provide encouraging performance in eliminating the non-convergent mesh sensitivity problem. Such improved strain localization modeling techniques show potential to be useful for further exploration of ductile fracture phenomena.