Modeling of multiple cracks in reinforced concrete members using solid finite elements with high aspect ratio
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This paper presents a new technique to model interfaces by means of degenerated solid finite elements, i.e., elements with a very high aspect ratio, with the smallest dimension corresponding to the thickness of the interfaces. It is shown that, as the aspect ratio increases, the element strains also increase, approaching the kinematics of the strong discontinuity. A tensile damage constitutive relation between strains and stresses is proposed to describe the nonlinear behavior of the interfaces associated with crack opening. To represent crack propagation, couples of triangular interface elements are introduced in between all regular (bulk) elements of the original mesh. With this technique the analyses can be performed integrally in the context of the continuum mechanics and complex crack patterns involving multiple cracks can be simulated without the need of tracking algorithms. Numerical tests are performed to show the applicability of the proposed technique, studding also aspects related to mesh objectivity.