A non-linear cohesive zone model for low-cycle fatigue of quasi-brittle materials

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The low-cycle fatigue behaviour of quasi-brittle materials (e.g., concrete and rock) that is characterized by fatigue induced inelastic deformation significantly affects the integrity and serviceability of engineering structures. However, the low-cycle fatigue mechanism and fatigue-controlled fracture process of quasi-brittle materials is not clear. This paper develops a new cyclic cohesive zone model (CZM) for low-cycle fatigue of quasi-brittle materials. Based on in-situ stress and damage state, a nonlinear fatigue damage model is proposed and implemented into the cyclic CZM. The fatigue parameters are determined based on S-N curve. A worked example for monotonic and cyclic loading of concrete beam under three-point bending is presented to demonstrate the application of the developed numerical model. After validation against experimental data, the fatigue crack mechanisms are discussed and a comprehensive parametric study is carried out to investigate the effects of fatigue parameters, stress levels and loading sequences on the fatigue failure. It has been found that there are three stages for the development of crack mouth of displacement, i.e., crack initiation, stable growth and rapid fracture which are caused by combined static and fatigue damage, fatigue damage, and combined static and fatigue damage dominated by static damage, respectively. The developed cyclic CZM is practically significant and its parameters are easy to be determined based on S-N curve. It provides a new and useful tool for low-cycle fatigue crack modelling of quasi-brittle materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103641
Number of pages13
JournalTheoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics
Early online date21 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


  • cohesive zone model
  • low-cycle fatigue
  • nonlinear fatigue damage
  • quasi-brittle materials
  • S-N curve


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