Direct Extraction of Cohesive Fracture Properties from Digital Image Correlation: A Hybrid Inverse Technique

B. Shen, G. H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The accuracy of an adopted cohesive zone model (CZM) can affect the simulated fracture response significantly. The CZM has been usually obtained using global experimental response, e. g., load versus either crack opening displacement or load-line displacement. Apparently, deduction of a local material property from a global response does not provide full confidence of the adopted model. The difficulties are: (1) fundamentally, stress cannot be measured directly and the cohesive stress distribution is non-uniform; (2) accurate measurement of the full crack profile (crack opening displacement at every point) is experimentally difficult to obtain. An attractive feature of digital image correlation (DIC) is that it allows relatively accurate measurement of the whole displacement field on a flat surface. It has been utilized to measure the mode I traction-separation relation. A hybrid inverse method based on combined use of DIC and finite element method is used in this study to compute the cohesive properties of a ductile adhesive, Devcon Plastic Welder II, and a quasi-brittle plastic, G-10/FR4 Garolite. Fracture tests were conducted on single edge-notched beam specimens (SENB) under four-point bending. A full-field DIC algorithm was employed to compute the smooth and continuous displacement field, which is then used as input to a finite element model for inverse analysis through an optimization procedure. The unknown CZM is constructed using a flexible B-spline without any "a priori" assumption on the shape. The inversely computed CZMs for both materials yield consistent results. Finally, the computed CZMs are verified through fracture simulation, which shows good experimental agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-163
Number of pages21
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesive
  • Cohesive zone model (CZM)
  • Digital image correlation (DIC)
  • Finite element method (FEM)
  • Full-field DIC
  • Hybrid method
  • Single edge-notched beam (SENB)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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