The fracture behaviors of quasi-brittle materials are commonly specimen size (size effect) and crack size (boundary effect) dependent. In this study, a new failure model is developed for characterizing the size and boundary effects. The derivative of the energy release rate is firstly introduced to predict the nominal strength dominated by the strength mechanism. Combined with the energy criterion for the energy mechanism, an asymptotic model is developed to capture the effect of any crack size on the nominal strength, and its expression for geometrically similar specimens is also established, which is able to characterize the size effect. Detailed comparisons of the proposed model with the size effect law and the boundary effect model are performed, respectively. The nominal strength predictions based on the proposed model are validated with the experimental results of cracked three-point bending beam specimens made of concrete, of limestone and of hardened cement paste and compared with the model predictions given by the size effect law and the boundary effect model.
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