Damage mechanics is concerned with the representation, or modeling, of damage of materials that is suitable for making engineering predictions about the initiation, propagation, and fracture of materials without resorting to a microscopic description that would be too complex for practical engineering analysis. Damage mechanics illustrates the typical engineering approach to model complex phenomena. To quote Dusan Krajcinovic, "It is often argued that the ultimate task of engineering research is to provide not so much a better insight into the examined phenomenon but to supply a rational predictive tool applicable in design". Damage mechanics is a topic of applied mechanics that relies heavily on continuum mechanics. Most of the work on damage mechanics uses state variables to represent the effects of damage on the stiffness and remaining life of the material that is damaging as a result of thermomechanical load and ageing. The state variables may be measurable, e.g., crack density, or inferred from the effect they have on some macroscopic property, such as stiffness, coefficient of thermal expansion, remaining life, etc. The state variables have conjugate thermodynamic forces that motivate further damage. Initially the material is pristine, or intact. A damage activation criterion is needed to predict damage initiation. Damage evolution does not progresses spontaneously after initiation, thus requiring a damage evolution model. In plasticity like formulations, the damage evolution is controlled by a hardening function but this requires additional phenomenological parameters that must be found through experimentation, which is expensive, time consuming, and virtually no one does. On the other hand, micromechanics of damage formulations are able to predict both damage initiation and evolution without additional material properties.
- Krajcinovic, D., Damage mechanics (1989) Mechanics of Materials, 8 (2-3), pp. 117-197.
- Dusan Krajcinovic, Mechanics of Materials 8 (1989) 169.
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- Barbero, E.J., Cortes, D.H., A mechanistic model for transverse damage initiation, evolution, and stiffness reduction in laminated composites (2010) Composites Part B: Engineering, 41 (2), pp. 124-132.