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With the ESIS blog we want to promote and intensify relevant scientific discussions on recent publications in Engineering Fracture Mechanics. The blog is hosted by IMechanica on:


The editors, Professors Karl-Heinz Schwalbe and Tony Ingraffea, support this initiative. ESIS hopes that this blog will achieve the following objectives:

• To initiate scientific discussions on relevant topics by highlighting, leaving comments, suggestions, questions etc. related to recent publications;

• To suggest re-reading, re-examination, comparison of results from the past, that may be overlooked by the authors or have fallen into general oblivion;

• To promote and give reference to groups with similar or related scientific goals and to promote collaboration, as well as bridging gaps between different disciplines;

• To focus attention on new ideas that may face a risk of drowning in the noise of today's extensive scientific production;

Per Ståhle

Latest posts from ESIS Blog on IMechanica

Discussion of fracture paper #25 - The role of the fracture process region

The subject of this blog is a fracture mechanical study of soft polymers. It is well written and technically detailed which makes the reading a good investment. The paper is: "Experimental and numerical assessment of the work of fracture in injection-moulded low-density polyethylene" by Martin Kroon, Eskil Andreasson, Viktor Petersson, Pär A.T. Olsson in Engineering Fracture Mechanics 192 (2018) 1–11. As the title says, it is about the fracture mechanical properties of a group of polymers. The basic idea is to identify the energy release rate that is required to initiate crack growth. To distinguish between the energy required for creating crack and the energy dissipated in the surrounding continuum, the former is defined as the unstable material which has passed its largest load carrying capacity, and the remaining is the stable elastic plastic continuum. The energy required for creating crack surface is supposed to be independent of the scale of yielding. The authors call it the essential work of fracture, as I believe was coined by Mai and Cotterell. If not the same, then this is very close to the energy dissipation in the fracture process region, as suggested by Barenblatt, and used by many others. Material instability could, of course also be the result of void or crack nucleation at irregularities of one kind or another outside the process region. How much should be included as essential work or not, could be discussed. I guess it depends on if it is a necessary requirement for fracture. The fact that it may both support and be an impediment to fracture does not make it less complicated. In the paper an FE model is successfully used to calculate the global energy release rate vis à vis the local unstable energy release in the fracture process region, modelled as a cohesive zone. What captured my interest was the proposed two parameter cohesive zone model and its expected autonomy. With one parameter, whatever happens in the process region is determined by, e.g., K, J, G. The single parameter autonomy has its limits but more parameters can add more details and extend the autonomy and applicability. For the proposed cohesive zone, the most important parameter is the work of fracture. A second parameter is a critical stress that marks the onset of the fracture processes. In the model the critical stress is found at the tip of the cohesive zone. By using the model of the process region, the effect of different extents of plastic deformations is accounted for through the numerical calculation of the surrounding elastic plastic continuum. The work of fracture is proportional to the product of the critical stress and the critical separation of the cohesive zone surfaces. The importance of the cohesive zone is that it provides a length scale. Without it, the process region would be represented by a point, the crack tip, with the consequence that the elastic plastic material during crack growth consumes all released energy. Nothing is let through to the crack tip. Stationary cracks are surrounded by a crack tip field that releases energy to fracture process regions that may be small or even a singular point. If the crack is growing at steady-state very little is let through to a small fracture process region and to a singular point, nothing. In conventional thinking a large cohesive stress leads to a short cohesive zone, and by that, the available energy would be less. A variation of the critical stress is discussed in the paper. Presently, however, the two parameter model is more of a one parameter ditto, where the cohesive stress is selected just as sufficiently plausible. What could be done to nail the most suitable critical cohesive stress? With the present range of crack length and initiation of crack growth nothing is needed. The obtained constant energy release rate fits the experimental result perfectly. Further, it is difficult to find any good reason for why the excellent result would not hold also for larger cracks. As opposed to that, small, very small or no crack at all should give crack initiation and growth at a remote stress that is close to the critical cohesive stress. As the limit result of a vanishing crack, the two stresses should be identical. I am not sure about the present polymer but in many metals the growing plastic wake requires significant increase of the remote load. Often several times rather than percentages. So letting the crack grow at least a few times the linear extent of the plastic zone, would add on requirements that may be used to optimise both cohesive parameters. I really enjoyed reading this interesting paper. I understand that the paper is about initiation of crack growth which is excellent, but in view of the free critical cohesive stress, I wonder if the model can be extended to include very small cracks or the behaviour from initiation of crack growth to an approximate steady-state. It would be interesting if anyone would like to discuss or provide a comment or a thought, regarding the paper, the method, the autonomy, or anything related. The authors themselves perhaps. Per Ståhle



Discussion of fracture paper #24 - The sound of crack growth

Carbon fibre reinforced polymers combines desired features from different worlds. The fibres are stiff and hard, while the polymers are the opposite, weak, soft and with irrelevant fracture toughness. Irrelevant considering the small in-plane deformation that the fibres can handle before they break. It is not totally surprising that one can make composites that display the best properties from each material. Perhaps less obvious or even surprising is that materials and composition can be designed to make the composite properties go beyond what the constituent materials are even near. A well-known example is the ordinary aluminium foil for household use that is laminated with a polymer film with similar thickness. The laminate gets a toughness that is several times that of the aluminium foil even though the over all strains are so small that the polymer hardly can carry any significant load. In search of something recent on laminate composites, I came across a very interesting paper on material and fracture mechanical testing of carbon fibre laminates:: "Innovative mechanical characterization of CFRP using acoustic emission technology" by Claudia Barile published in Engineering Fracture Mechanics Vol. 210 (2019) pp. 414–421 What caught my eye first was that the paper got citations already during the in press period. It was not less interesting when I found that the paper describes how acoustic emissions can detect damage and initiation of crack growth. The author, Barile, cleverly uses the wavelet transform to analyse the response to acoustic emission. In a couple of likewise recent publications she has examined the ability of the method. There Barile et al. simulate the testing for varying material parameters and analyse the simulated acoustic response using wavelet transformation. This allow them to explore the dependencies of the properties of the involved materials. They convincingly show that it is possible to both detect damage and damage mechanisms. In addition, a feature of the wavelet transform as opposed to its Fourier counterpart is the advantages at analyses of transients. By using the transform they were able to single out the initiation of crack growth. Very useful indeed. I get the feeling that their method may show even more benefits. A detail that is unclear to me, if I should be fussy, is that there are more unstable phenomena than just crack growth that can appear as the load increases. Also regions of damage and in particular, fracture process regions may grow. When the stress intensity factor K alone is sufficient there is no need to consider neither size nor growth of the fracture process region. The need arises when K , J , or any other one-parameter description is insufficient, e.g. in situations when the physical size of the process region becomes important. Typical examples are when cracks cross bi-material interfaces or when they are small relative to the size of the process region. When the size seems to be the second most important feature, then the primary parameter may be complemented with a finite size model of the process region to get things right. There is a special twist of this in connection with process region size and rapid growth. In the mid 1980's cohesive zones came in use to model fracture process regions in FEM analyses of elastic and elastic-plastic materials. Generally, during increasing load, cohesive zones appear at crack tips and develop until the crack begins to grow. One thing that at first glance was surprising, at least to some of us, was that for small cracks the process region first grows stably and shifts to be fast and uncontrollable, while the crack tip remains stationary. Later, of course the criterion for crack growth becomes fulfilled and crack growth follows. Is it possible to differentiate between the signals from a suddenly fast growing damage region or fracture process region vis à vis a fast growing crack? It would be interesting to hear from the authors or anyone else who would like to discuss or provide a comment or a thought, regarding the paper, the method, or anything related. Per Ståhle



Discussion of fracture paper #23 - Paris' exponent m<2 and behaviour of short cracks

I came across a very interesting paper in Engineering Fracture Mechanics about a year ago. It gives some new results of stochastic aspects of fatigue. The paper is: ”On the distribution and scatter of fatigue lives obtained by integration of crack growth curves: Does initial crack size distribution matter?” by M. Ciavarella, A. Papangelo, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Vol 191 (2018) pp. 111–124. The authors remind us of the turning point the a Paris' exponent m=2 is. Initial crack length always matters but if the initial crack is small, the initial crack is seemingly very important for the if m>2. For exponents less than 2, small initial cracks matters less or nothing at all. If all initial cracks are sufficiently small their size play no role and may be ignored at the calculation of the remaining life of the structure. Not so surprising this also applies to the stochastic approach by the authors. What surprised me is the fuzz around small cracks. I am sure there is an obstacle that I have overlooked. I am thinking that by using a cohesive zone model and why not a Dugdale or a Barenblatt model for which the analytical solutions are just an inverse trigonometric resp. hyperbolic function. What is needed to adopt the model to small crack mechanics is the stress intensity factor and a length parameter such as the crack tip opening displacement or an estimate of the linear extent of the nonlinear crack tip region. I really enjoyed reading this interesting paper and get introduced to extreme value distribution. I also liked that the Weibull distribution was used. The guy himself, Waloddi Weibull was born a few km's from my house in Scania, Sweden. Having said that I will take the opportunity to share a story that I got from one of Waloddi's students Bertram Broberg. The story tells that the US army was skeptic and didn't want to use a theory (Waloddi's) that couldn't even predict zero probability that object should brake. Not even at vanishing load. A year later they called him and told that they received a cannon barrel that was broken already when they pulled it out of its casing and now they fully embraced his theory. Per Ståhle



Discussion of fracture paper #22 - Open access puts scientists in control of their own results

The last ESIS blog about how surprisingly few scientists are willing/able to share their experimental data, received an unexpectedly large interest. Directly after the publication another iMechanica blogger took the same theme but he put the focus on results produced at numerical analyses that are presented with insufficient information. While reading, my spontaneous guess was that one obstacle to do right could be the widespread use of commercial non-open codes. The least that then could be done is to demonstrate the ability of the code by comparing results with an exact solution of a simplified example. My fellow blogger also had an interesting reflection regarding differences between theoreticians and computational scientists and it suddenly occurs to me that everything is not black or white. Robert Hooke concealed his results and by writing an anagram, he made sure that he could still take the credit. He didn't stop at that. When he made his result known he added some ten years to how early he understood the context. And he got away with it. To some consolation, the EU 8th Framework programme, also called Horizon 2020, finances the OpenAIRE-, and its successor the OpenAIREplus-project that is developed and managed by CERN. The intention is to increase general access to research results with EU support. As a part of this the Zenodo server system was launched. As the observant reader of the previous blog might have seen noted, Zenodo was used by the authors of the survey we discussed in the previous ESIS blog "Long term availability of raw experimental data in experimental fracture mechanics", by Patrick Diehl, Ilyass Tabiai, Felix W. Baumann, Daniel Therriault and Martin Levesque, in Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 197 (2018) 21–26 , with supplementary materials including all bibtex entries of the papers here The purpose of Zenodo is to make sure that there will be enough storage capacity for open access data for everyone. Mandatory for all Horizon2020 financed projects and in first hand all EU financed projects. I learn from the parallel blog that there are a DataVerse, an openKIM, a Jupyter project and probably much more, in the support of open-access. It seems to me that DataVerse covers the same functionality as Zenodo. In addition they offer an open-source server with the possibility to set up and run your own server and become integrated in a larger context, which seems very practical. OpenKIM is a systematic collection of atomistic potentials built by users. Jupyter Notebooks yet another open-source project supporting computing in any programming language. They have a written code of conduct. It is not as depressing as it first looks. In essence it summarises your rights and obligations. It could possibly be better with one single repository or at least one unified system. But why not let a hundred flowers bloom. At the end the solution could be a search engine that covers all or a user's choice of the open-access repositories. Per Ståhle



Discussion of fracture paper #21 - Only 6% of experimentalists want to disclose raw-data

Experimental data availability is a cornerstone for reproducibility in experimental fracture mechanics. This is how the technical note begins, the recently published "Long term availability of raw experimental data in experimental fracture mechanics", by Patrick Diehl, Ilyass Tabiai, Felix W. Baumann, Daniel Therriault and Martin Levesque, in Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 197 (2018) 21–26. It is five pages that really deserves to be read and discussed. A theory may be interesting but of little value until it has been proven by experiments. All the proof of a theory is in the experiment. What is the point if there is no raw-data for quallity check? The authors cite another survey that found that 70% of around 1500 researchers failed to reproduce other scientists experiments. As a surprise, the same study find that the common scientists are confident that peer reviewed published experiments are reproducible. A few years back many research councils around the world demanded open access to all publications emanating from research finansed by them. Open access is fine, but it is much more important to allow examination of the data that is used. Publishers could make a difference by providing space for data from their authors. Those who do not want to disclose their data should be asked for an explanation. The pragmatic result of the survey is that only 6% will provide data, and you have to ask for it. That is a really disappointing result. The remaining was outdated addresses 22%, no reply 58% and 14% replied but were not willing to share their data. The result would probably still be deeply depressing, but possibly a bit better if I as a researcher only have a single experiment and a few authors to track down. It means more work than an email but on the other hand I don't have 187 publications that Diehl et al. had. Through friends and former co-authors and some work I think chances are good. The authors present some clever ideas of what could be better than simply email-addresses that are temporary for many researchers. The authors of the technical note do not know what hindered those 60% who did receive the request and did not reply. What could be the reason for not replying to a message where a colleague asks you about your willingness to share the raw experimental data of a published paper with others? If I present myself to a scientist as a colleague who plan to study his data and instead of studying his behaviour, then chances that he answers increase. I certainly hope that, and at least not the reversed but who knows, life never ceases to surprise. It would be interesting to know what happens. If anyone would like to have a go, I am sure that the author's of the paper are willing to share the list of papers that they used. Again, could there be any good reason for not sharing your raw-data with your fellow creatures? What is your opinion? Anyone, the authors perhaps. Per Ståhle



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