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Open AccessArticle

Fracture Parameters of Cement Mortar with Different Structural Dimensions Under the Direct Tension Test

1
Department of Civil Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea
2
Institute of Bio-Housing, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea
3
School of Architecture, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul 01811, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(11), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12111850
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
In this paper, we measured the fracture properties of cement mortar—which is composed of sand and has a nearly constant diameter—using a direct tension test. Four double-notched mortar bar specimens with different structural dimensions were assessed. The failure load, load-crack mouth opening displacement, and elongation of the gauge length were measured under direct displacement control. The fractured surfaces were scanned and measured so that we could calculate the tensile strength accurately and determine the fracture energy and characteristic length. The average ratio of total fracture energy (GF) to specific fracture energy (Gf) was 1.94; this was lower than the typical value for concrete, of 2.5. The direct tension test showed that the double-notched mortar specimens had a smaller fracture processing zone after the initiation of tensile cracks, so the tail portion of the softening branch was small. This decreased the GF/Gf ratio. We verified this result based on a nonlinear fracture mechanics simulation and found that it agreed well with our experimental results. We also investigated the size effects of four different scaled specimens while holding the ratio of structural dimension, d, and notch length, a is constant, so that there was no shape effect. The traditional linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) prediction and Bažant’s size effect law yield a gradient closer to 1/2 in the case of relatively large specimens. In the case of our cement mortar specimens, this prediction was not supported, where the value of the slope was 1/0.727. This was unexpected because LEFM predicts strong size effects. One possible explanation for this result is that the size effects of concrete are most often evaluated using a bending test; also, concrete has a larger maximum aggregate size than mortar. Due to the random heterogeneities in aggregate distribution, higher tail energies may be seen for concrete, leading to differences in the GF/Gf ratio. At the same time, the peak tensile stress could be affected by the relationship between structural dimensions and aggregate size. View Full-Text
Keywords: cement mortar; fracture energy; fractured area; size effect; characteristic length cement mortar; fracture energy; fractured area; size effect; characteristic length
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Rhee, I.; Lee, J.S.; Roh, Y.-S. Fracture Parameters of Cement Mortar with Different Structural Dimensions Under the Direct Tension Test. Materials 2019, 12, 1850.

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