Modelling progressive failure in multi-phase materials using a phase field method

Peng Zhang, Xiaofei Hu, Shangtong Yang, Weian Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, a new phase field method is proposed for modelling of progressive failure in multi-phase materials. Material properties of the interface between inclusion and matrix are regularized by an auxiliary interface phase field. In addition, crack initiation and propagation are simulated by using another crack phase field. Different failure mechanisms such as interface debonding, matrix cracking and the interaction between these two failure mechanisms are modelled in a unified framework. For general application of the framework, an image processing method is employed to identify the individual phases for a given multi-phase material. The proposed method is implemented into the commercial software ABAQUS through a user subroutine UEL (user defined element). The derived method is validated through an example of a single fiber reinforced composite system. Moreover, a procedure for choosing parameters of the proposed phase field model is discussed. Further, the validated method is applied to fracture analysis of a multi-phase concrete structure and complex failure mechanisms within and across the phases are captured.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-124
Number of pages20
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Early online date17 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


  • phase field model
  • interface debonding
  • matrix cracking
  • multi-phase material


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