A microstructure finite element method combining the cohesive zone model (CZM) is used to simulate the mechanical behavior, deformation, and failure of polymer-bonded explosive (PBX) 9501 under quasi-static loading. PBX 9501 consists of Cyclotetramethylene tetranitramine (HMX) filler particles with a random distribution packaged in a polymeric binder. The particle is treated as elastic and the binder as viscoelastic. Cohesive elements with a bilinear softening law are inserted into the particle/binder interface, the HMX particle, and the binder to study the interface’s debonding and failure evolution. Macroscopic stress–strain curves homogenized across the microstructure under tension and compression with different strain rates are basically consistent with the experimental data. The interface debonding approximately vertical to the loading direction is the primary failure mechanism under tension, while shear failure along the interfaces and particle fracture plays a significant role under compression. The effects of interface strengths and strain rates on the performance of PBX 9501 are also evaluated. The tensile and compressive strengths are dependent on the interface strength and strain rate, but the failure paths are insensitive. This model is shown to accurately predict macroscopic responses and improve our understanding of the relationship between the mechanical behavior and microstructure of PBX 9501.
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