Predictive modeling of interfacial damage in substructured steels: application to martensitic microstructures

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Metallic composite phases, like martensite present in conventional steels and new generation high strength steels exhibit microscale, locally lamellar microstructures characterized by alternating layers of phases or crystallographic variants. The layers can be sub-micron down to a few nanometers thick, and they are often characterized by high contrasts in plastic properties. As a consequence, fracture in these lamellar microstructures generally occurs along the layer interfaces or within one of the layers, typically parallel to the interface. This paper presents a computational framework that addresses the lamellar nature of these microstructures, by homogenizing the plastic deformation at the mesoscale by using the microscale response of the laminates. Failure is accounted for by introducing a family of damaging planes that are parallel to the layer interface. Mode I, mode II and mixed-mode opening are incorporated. The planes along which failure occurs are captured using a smeared damage approach. Coupling of damage with isotropic or anisotropic plasticity models, like crystal plasticity, is straightforward. The damaging planes and directions do not need to correspond to crystalline slip planes, and normal opening is also included. Focus is given on rate-dependent formulations of plasticity and damage, i.e. converged results can be obtained without further regularization techniques. The validation of the model using experimental observations in martensite-austenite lamellar microstructures in steels reveals that the model correctly predicts the main features of the onset of failure, e.g. the necking point, the failure initiation region and the failure mode. Finally, based on the qualitative results obtained, some material design guidelines are provided for martensitic and multi-phase steels.
Original languageEnglish
Article number025006
Pages (from-to)1-26
JournalModelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • lath martensite, dual phase steels, crystals, plasticity, softening,


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