Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

G. Lancioni - G. Royer Carfagni

The Variational Approach to Fracture Mechanics. A Practical Application to the French Panthéon in Paris

created by royercarfagni on 25 Apr 2016


Published Paper

Inserted: 25 apr 2016
Last Updated: 25 apr 2016

Journal: Journal of Elasticity
Volume: 95
Pages: 1-30
Year: 2009
Doi: 10.1007/s10659-009-9189-1


Recently, Francfort and Marigo (J. Mech. Phys. Solids 46, 1319–1342, 1998) have proposed a novel approach to fracture mechanics based upon the global minimization of a Griffith-like functional, composed of a bulk and a surface energy term. Later on the same authors, together with Bourdin, introduced (in J. Mech. Phys. Solids 48, 797–826, 2000) a variational approximation (in the sense of $\Gamma$-convergence) of such functional, essentially for computational purposes.

Here, we utilize this new variational approach to show how it might be altered to incorporate the idea of less brittle, “deviatoric-type fracture” and apply to materials such as confined stone. To do so, we modify the original formulation of Francfort and Marigo, in particular its approximation of Bourdin, Francfort and Marigo, to only allow for discontinuities in the deviatoric part of the strain. We apply such modified model to gain insight on the deterioration and cracking in the ashlar masonry work of the French Panthéon, which are so repetitious and particular to be a distinguishable symptom of ongoing damage. Numerical experiments are performed and the results compared to those obtained using the original Francfort-Marigo model and to actual crack patterns from the Panthéon.

The modified formulation allows one to reproduce fracture paths surprisingly similar to that observed in situ, to sort out the possible causes of damage, and to confirm, with a quantitative analysis, the main structural deficiencies in the French monument. This practical example enhances the importance of this promising new theory based in the mathematical sciences.

Keywords: fracture mechanics, Free discontinuity problem, Damage mechancis, Quasi brittle material, stone, ashlar masonry, Historical Monuments