Configurational force method enables fracture assessment in soft materials

Moreno Mateos MA, Steinmann P (2024)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2024


Book Volume: 186

Pages Range: 105602

Article Number: 105602

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmps.2024.105602


Configurational mechanics offers a framework for quantifying the tendency of defects to alter the material configuration. When applied to fracture mechanics, configurational forces can be used to quantify the propensity of cracks to propagate. An alternative, well-established approach involves analytical solutions for crack tip displacement fields. However, these solutions typically apply to a limited range of constitutive behaviors and oftentimes to the linear small strain regime. The ease of calculating configurational forces in a numerical Finite Element implementation, along with their applicability to soft fracture at large strains, motivates the study of their performance as a standalone fracture framework. In contrast to the majority of works that remain theoretical and numerical, our study includes a robust experimental approach to configurational forces at finite strains. We report tensile experiments on a soft elastomer with pre-cuts ante fracture initiation. In a first attempt to approach the 

-integral via configurational forces, we explore the performance of the linear elastic fracture mechanics solutions on Pacman-shaped domains that reproduce the crack tip vicinity. Then, we implement the entire boundary value problem with three-dimensional simulations that replicate the empirical tensile deformation of the soft elastomer samples. Subsequently, the results are benchmarked against estimations of the 

-integral obtained through a bespoke finite strain analytical crack tip solution. With the successful validation of the configurational force method at finite strains, we aim to establish a pipeline for the calculation of configurational forces in a standalone manner and circumventing the need for close-form analytical solutions.

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How to cite


Moreno Mateos, M.A., & Steinmann, P. (2024). Configurational force method enables fracture assessment in soft materials. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 186, 105602.


Moreno Mateos, Miguel Angel, and Paul Steinmann. "Configurational force method enables fracture assessment in soft materials." Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 186 (2024): 105602.

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