The Role of Fracture Mechanics In Reliability Analyses


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Title: The Role of Fracture Mechanics In Reliability Analyses

Author(s): Roman Wendner, Alfred Strauss, and Drahomír Novák

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 300


Appears on pages(s): 1-26

Keywords: fracture mechanics, safety concepts, partial safety factor, global safety factor, limit state, small-sample simulation

Date: 3/11/2015

The basis of all design codes and recommendations that are endorsed by engineering societies are safety concepts which have been formulated with the intent to meet a society’s safety demands. These demands are expressed in terms of failure probabilities, differentiating between structural safety and serviceability, accounting for the expected service life and the potential loss of life and assets. While in the last century safety formats were mainly based on experience, newer code developments are supported by fully probabilistic concepts and reliability engineering tools. Nonetheless, a realistic assessment of structural performance, and in consequence the expected service life, is in many cases impaired due to oversimplified design assumptions, the elastic determination of internal forces applying the principle of superposition, and a lack of understanding regarding the relevant stochastic models. While the ‘elastic’ design has merit in many design situations, its limitations are quickly reached if a realistic assessment of bearing capacity or serviceability are to be performed. Within this contribution the role of fracture mechanics in the reliability analyses of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structures will be presented. After providing a review of the relevant concepts, examples are given to illustrate the significance of fracture mechanics as well as point out existing short-comings and the need for additional research.