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Modifying the Compressive Behavior of Damaged Cohesive Elements

By default, cohesive elements with traction-separation response (*COHESIVE SECTION, RESPONSE=TRACTION SEPARATION) will be deleted only when all the integration points are completely damaged and none are in compression. This last condition is introduced to ensure that the elements have no stresses prior to being deleted, since by default, the compressive stiffness of these elements is never degraded. The damaged compressive behavior can be modified however by activating the COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option as explained below. The option applies to Abaqus/Explicit releases 6.6 and later; prior to Abaqus 6.10-EF, this option can be activated by setting the following environment variable in the abaqus_v6.env file:

IMPORT OS OS.ENVIRON["XPL_COHESIVE_COMPRESSION_DAMAGE"] = 'ON' From Abaqus 6.10-EF and later versions, it can be activated using the following *SECTION CONTROLS option:

*SECTION CONTROLS, COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE = YES The COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option is applicable only to cohesive elements with traction-separation response and has no influence on the damage initiation criterion. Activating this option affects only the damage evolution and element deletion behavior as explained below.

Stiffness Degradation (Damage Evolution) in Compression


By default, the compressive stiffness at the integration points of cohesive elements using traction-separation response is never damaged and acts as a penalty stiffness for contact. Activating the COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option will cause the compressive stiffness to degrade after the damage initiation criterion is met. This is illustrated by a simple problem shown below.

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Figure 1: Test model The model consists of a single cohesive (COH3D8) element tied to a layer of shells at the top and the bottom. The bottom layer is fixed while the top layer is controlled by displacement boundary conditions. The top layer is displaced, first loading the cohesive element in tension to the point where it has been partially damaged, returning to the initial position, and then loading the cohesive element in compression. From the stress-strain plots in Figure 2 below, it can be seen that the material stiffness in compression is degraded and follows a different unloading path when the COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option is activated. However, it must be noted that in both cases, the cohesive element will not accumulate damage in compression as the damage initiation criterion only accounts for tensile normal tractions.

Figure 2: Stress-strain comparison

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Modifying Cohesive Element Compressive Behavior

Element Deletion
By default, when the element deletion option is activated (*SECTION CONTROLS, ELEMENT DELETION=YES) for cohesive elements with traction-separation response, two conditions must be met for the elements to be deleted: all the integration points must reach the maximum level of degradation, and all the points must be opening (that is, they must have positive separation in the normal direction). This behavior is changed when the COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option is used. Specifically, the elements will be deleted once the maximum level of degradation is reached at all integration points, irrespective of whether they are opening or closing. The modified behavior can be illustrated using the previous example model with a different set of boundary conditions. In this case, the bottom layer is fixed while the cohesive element is subjected to compression followed by shear. The displacements, reaction forces and the damage output are compared below when the COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option is active or not.

Figure 3: Displacement loading sequence: compression followed by shear

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Modifying Cohesive Element Compressive Behavior

Figure 4: Scalar stiffness degradation variable comparison

Figure 5: Reaction force comparison shear

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Modifying Cohesive Element Compressive Behavior

Figure 6: Reaction force comparison normal

The cohesive element is held in compression while it is being loaded in shear and starts to accumulate damage after 1.5 e-3 seconds (Figures 3 and 4). As the element gets damaged further, the stiffness in shear is degraded irrespective of whether the COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option is activated or not (Figure 5). However, the difference in behavior between the two options can be noticed in Figure 6, which compares the normal reaction forces. With COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE activated, once the element is damaged, the compressive stiffness is degraded and eventually the element is deleted. Notes:

Since the COHESIVE COMPRESSION DAMAGE option has no influence on the damage initiation criterion, there will be no change to the compressive stiffness of the cohesive elements before the criterion for damage initiation is met. In such cases, the stiffness in compression will remain the same as the initial stiffness in tension. The cohesive elements will never get damaged when loaded in pure compression, since the damage initiation criterion only considers the tensile normal tractions.

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Modifying Cohesive Element Compressive Behavior