Experimental and numerical investigation of ductile fracture of carbon steel structural components

Qian-Yi Song, Amin Heidarpour, Xiao-Ling Zhao, Lin-Hai Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Ductile fracture of steel components cannot be avoided particularly due to large inelastic strain in extreme loading scenarios. Without considering damage model, conventional elasto-plastic constitutive material model cannot lead to accurate finite element (FE) modelling results when damage due to fracture exists. Metal fracture is a complex damage process in which damage onset, material deterioration and final fracture are related to development of material plasticity. Uniaxial tensile fracture and shear fracture are two typical failure modes of structural members. In this study, experimental investigations of monotonic tensile fracture and in-plane shear fracture under different strain rates in quasi-static loading range are presented for low-alloy structural carbon steel. The characteristic steel material properties are obtained insensitive to the chosen strain rate. A semi-empirical process is used to calibrate the damage properties (damage onset and softening criteria) through FE modelling of the coupon samples based on a continuum damage mechanics (CDM) model. Deterioration of the carbon steel properties was found related to the evolution of equivalent plastic strain, and particularly there is a linear relationship for the in-plane shear scenario. The verified damage onset and shear softening are then used for modelling of a welded steel tubular connection experiencing punching shear fracture phenomenon. It is shown that modelling result of the steel connection is significantly improved when the proposed fracture modelling is adopted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-437
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Finite element modelling
  • In-plane shear fracture
  • Steel material
  • Uniaxial tensile fracture
  • Welded tubular connection

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