Elastic crack propagation model for crystalline solids using a self- consistent coupled atomistic-continuum framework

S Ghosh and JX Zhang, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FRACTURE, 208, 171-189 (2017).

DOI: 10.1007/s10704-017-0232-0

Deformation and failure processes of crystalline materials are governed by complex phenomena at multiple scales. It is necessary to couple these scales for physics-based modeling of these phenomena, while overcoming limitations of modeling at individual scales. To address this issue, this paper develops self-consistent elastic constitutive and crack propagation relations of crystalline materials containing atomic scale cracks, from observations made in a concurrent multi-scale simulation system coupling atomistic and continuum domain models. The concurrent multi-scale model incorporates a finite temperature atomistic region containing the crack, a continuum region represented by a self- consistent crystal elasticity constitutive model, and a handshaking interphase region. Atomistic modeling is done by the molecular dynamics code LAMMPS, while continuum modeling is conducted by the finite element method. For single crystal nickel a nonlinear and nonlocal crystal elasticity constitutive relation is derived, consistent with the atomic potential function. An efficient, staggered solution scheme with parallel implementation is designed for the coupled problem. The atomistic-continuum coupling is achieved by enforcing geometric compatibility and force equilibrium in the interphase region. Quantitative analyses of the crack propagation process focuses on size dependence, strain energy release rate, crack propagation rate and degradation of the local stiffness. The self-consistent constitutive and crack propagation relations, derived from the concurrent model simulation results are validated by comparing results from the concurrent and full FE models. Excellent accuracy and enhanced efficiency are observed in comparison with pure MD and concurrent model results.

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