This paper develops an efficient numerical approach to predict deterministic size effects in structures made of quasi-brittle materials using the scaled boundary finite element method (SBFEM). Depending on the structure’s size, two different SBFEM-based crack propagation modelling methodologies are used for fracture analyses. When the length of the fracture process zone (FPZ) in a structure is of the order of its characteristic dimension, nonlinear fracture analyses are carried out using the finite element-SBFEM coupled method. In large-sized structures, a linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM)-based SBFEM is used to reduce computing time due to small crack propagation length required to represent the FPZ in an equivalent nonlinear analysis. Remeshing is used in both methods to model crack propagation with crack paths unknown a priori. The resulting peak loads are used to establish the size effect laws. Three concrete structures were modelled to validate the approach. The predicted size effect is in good agreement with experimental data. The developed approach was found more efficient than the finite element method, at least in modelling LEFM problems and is thus an attractive tool for predicting size effect.
- Size effect
- Scaled boundary finite element
- Cohesive crack model
- Fracture mechanics
- Quasi-brittle materials