EAGER: A reassessment and rethinking of the notion of damage of materials
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This EArly-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) award investigates a radically different approach to represent the damage of materials that can potentially transform the field of mechanics. The assessment and remediation of damage in structural materials is a critically important issue facing scientists and engineers. The consequences of damage due to thermal cycling, moisture, electromagnetic radiation, and cyclical mechanical loading on dams, bridges, tunnels and buildings can be catastrophic. However, predicting the remaining lifetime of these structural components is challenging due to the need to know the history of these applied loads. The research will provide a new representation for the prediction of damage growth based on quantities, such as the density of the body, that are completely determined by the current configuration of the body. Such an approach is meaningful for a large class of polymeric materials and brittle materials such as concrete. If successful, the research will have a significant impact on numerous problems that have technological significance for the assessment and remediation of damage in materials and structures. Most of the current methodologies to assess damage resort to using effective damage parameters that invariably lack proper physical interpretation. Complicating matters further is the use of criteria for damage based on quantities such as stress or strain, quantities whose values cannot necessarily be decided based on the current state of the body. It would be much more meaningful and appropriate to use values of quantities that are completely determined by the current state of the body rather than the relative value of a physical quantity that requires information from a special reference state. Examples of quantities that are completely determined in the current state are the density, temperature, microstructural features, etc. The aim of the research is to take into account such quantities in the current state of the body to develop constitutive relations that can meaningfully predict the onset of damage.