Two-dimensional meso-scale finite element models with realistic aggregates, cement paste and voids of concrete are developed using microscale X-ray Computed Tomography images. Cohesive elements with traction–separation laws are pre-embedded within cement paste and aggregate–cement interfaces to simulate complex nonlinear fracture. Tension tests using a large number of images were simulated with statistical analysis. The very different load-carrying capacities and crack patterns demonstrate the effects of random distribution of phases. It is found that the tensile strength decreases as the void fraction increases, and the relative strength of cement paste and interfaces dominates the microcracking behaviour, which in turn affects macrocracking and load-carrying capacity.
Bibliographical noteOpen Access funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Under a Creative Commons license
- X-ray Computed Tomography
- Image based modelling
- Meso-scale finite element model
- Cohesive crack model