Modelling the competition between interface debonding and particle fracture using a plastic strain dependent cohesive zone

Y. Charles, R. Estevez, Y. Bréchet, E. Maire

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33 Citations (Scopus)


In metal matrix composites made of elastic spherical reinforcements (zirconia and/or silica ceramics) embedded in an aluminium matrix two damage mechanisms are observed to trigger failure: particle fracture or decohesion at the particle-matrix interface. Experimentally, it was shown that the dominant damage mechanism is governed by the matrix plastic characteristics: a soft matrix composite shows interface debonding while particles breakdown occurs in the composite with a hard matrix. The physics underlying this dependence are related to plastic strain near the interface which can assist decohesion. We present a cohesive zone model for the particle-matrix interface that accounts for local plastic strain effects, based on the analysis of the influence of dislocation accumulation on the local stress level. Such a description is shown able to capture the experimental observations while being simple to implement in a finite element code, as performed here with Abaqus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-718
Number of pages14
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohesive zone
  • Damage
  • Fracture
  • Metal matrix composites

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