Analysis of crack growth and crack-tip plasticity in ductile materials using cohesive zone models

H. Li, N. Chandra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Crack initiation and crack growth resistance in elastic plastic materials, dominated by crack-tip plasticity are analyzed with the crack modeled as a cohesive zone. Two different types (exponential and bilinear) of cohesive zone models (CZMs) have been used to represent the mechanical behavior of the cohesive zones. In this work, it is suggested that different forms of CZMs (e.g., exponential, bilinear) are the manifestations of different micromechanisms-based inelastic processes that participate in dissipating energy during the fracture process and each form is specific to each material system. It is postulated that the total energy release rate comprises the plastic dissipation rate in the bounding material and the separation energy rate within the fracture process zone, the latter is determined by CZMs. The total energy release rate then becomes a function of the material properties (e.g., yield strength, strain hardening exponent) and cohesive properties of the fracture process zone (e.g., cohesive strength and cohesive energy), and the form of cohesive zone model (CZM) that determines the rate of energy dissipation in the forward and wake regions of the crack. The effects of material parameters, cohesive zone parameters as well as the form/shape of CZMs in predicting the crack growth resistance and the size of plastic zone (SPZ) surrounding the crack tip are systematically examined. It is found that in addition to the cohesive strength and cohesive energy, the form (shape) of the traction-separation law of CZM plays a very critical role in determining the crack growth resistance (R-curve) of a given material. It is further observed that the shape of the CZM corresponds to inelastic processes active in the forward and wake regions of the crack, and has a profound influence on the R-curve and SPZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-882
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Plasticity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Cohesive zone model
  • Crack initiation
  • Crack-tip plasticity
  • Ductile fracture
  • R-curve
  • Size of plastic zone


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of crack growth and crack-tip plasticity in ductile materials using cohesive zone models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this