RESEARCH ARTICLE


Application of Fracture Mechanics to Cracking Problems in Soils



G. Juárez-Luna*, 1, G. Ayala2
1 Materials Department, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, San Pablo No. 180, Col. Reynosa Tamaulipas, Azcapotzalco, 02200, Mexico City, Mexico
2 Institute of Engineering, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, 04510, Apdo, 70-642, Mexico City, Mexico


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Creative Commons License
© 2014 Juárez-Luna and Ayala

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Materials Department, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, San Pablo No. 180, Col. Reynosa Tamaulipas, Azcapotzalco, 02200, Mexico City; Tel: (+5255) 53189085; Fax: (+5255) 53189085; E-mail: gjl@correo.azc.uam.mx


Abstract

This paper analyzes the problem of fracture in soils using the linear elastic fracture mechanics theory. Six cases of practical interest are investigated where the soil is subjected to different critical conditions that may produce cracks. To model the phenomenon of crack propagation, a two-dimensional fracture mechanics finite element program is used. In all cases, the properties of clays in the Valley of Mexico was used. The self-weight of the soil is considered as the main cause of geostatic stresses in the medium. Based on results from previous studies, the value of the critical stress intensity factor is calculated and validated. It is assumed that, only mode I fracture occurs. The crack depths obtained with the numerical models are congruent with the field data of existing geotechnical studies in the Valley of Mexico.

Keywords: Fracture mechanics, crack propagation, stress intensity factor, cracking in soils.