Continuum and molecular-level modeling of fatigue crack retardation in self-healing polymers

Spandan Maiti, Chandrashekar Shankar, Philippe H. Geubelle, John Kieffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A numerical model to study the fatigue crack retardation in a self-healing material (White et al., 2001, Nature, 409, pp. 794-797) is presented. The approach relies on a combination of cohesive modeling for fatigue crack propagation and a contact algorithm to enforce crack closure due to an artificial wedge in the wake of the crack. The healing kinetics of the self-healing material is captured by introducing along the fracture plane a state variable representing the evolving degree of cure of the healing agent. The atomic-scale processes during the cure of the healing agent are modeled using a coarse-grain molecular dynamics model specifically developed for this purpose. This approach yields the cure kinetics and the mechanical properties as a function of the degree of cure, information that is transmitted to the continuum-scale models. The incorporation of healing kinetics in the model enables us to study the competition between fatigue crack growth and crack retardation mechanisms in this new class of materials. A systematic study of the effect of different loading and healing parameters shows a good qualitative agreement between experimental observations and simulation results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-602
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Engineering Materials and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial crack closure
  • Coarse-grain molecular dynamics
  • Cohesive finite element
  • Contact
  • Fatigue crack retardation
  • Healing chemistry
  • Polymeric materials
  • Self-healing polymers
  • Wedge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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