The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Statistics and probabilistic modeling of simulated intergranular cracks

TitleStatistics and probabilistic modeling of simulated intergranular cracks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsArwade SR, Popat M.
JournalProbabilistic Engineering Mechanics
Start Page117
Date Published04/2009
KeywordsIntergranular fracture, Microcrack, Polycrystals, Probabilistic fracture, Statistics

Using Monte Carlo simulation, the statistical properties of intergranular crack trajectories in polycrystalline materials are estimated. The polycrystalline microstructures are two dimensional and are modeled by a Poisson–Voronoi tessellation for the grain geometry and a uniform orientation distribution function for the crystallographic orientation. A heuristic is introduced for determining the path of crack propagation when the crack tip arrives at a grain boundary triple junction. This heuristic applies a combination of two criteria for determining the direction of crack propagation, the maximum circumferential stress criterion, and a criterion in which the crack is assumed to propagate in the direction with the least material resistance. The resistance of grain boundaries is assumed to be related to the crystallographic misorientation at the grain boundary. The trajectories of microcracks can be treated as a random process, and simulation results indicate that the crack process exhibits linear variance growth, the rate of which is related to the importance attached to the circumferential stress and the material resistance in determining the direction of propagation. The rate of variance growth is shown to vary with the average grain diameter, so that microcracks in polycrystals with small grain size will exhibit less spatial uncertainty. The statistics and distributions of the increments of the crack process are also given. Through a small change made to the normalization applied to non-dimensionalize the statistics, the results are extended to polycrystals that have spatially varying grain size. Finally, a probabilistic model is proposed that is able to produce synthetic crack trajectories that replicate the important statistical properties of the simulated cracks. Such a model may prove useful in studies of the transition from micro to macrocracking.