Assessment of cohesive traction-separation relationships in ABAQUS: A comparative study

Kyoungsoo Park, Habeun Choi, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The definition of a traction-separation relationship is essential in cohesive zone models because it describes the nonlinear fracture process zone. A few models are investigated in this paper and a comparative study is conducted. Among various traction-separation relationships, the one in Abaqus is assessed by evaluating the cohesive traction and its tangent stiffness according to a given separation path. The results demonstrate that the traction-separation relationship in Abaqus can lead to non-physical responses because of a pathological positive tangent stiffness under softening condition. This is reflected in cohesive tractions that increase and decrease repeatedly while the cohesive separation monotonically increases. Thus, together with supporting information, this paper conveys the message that a traction-separation relationship should be developed and selected with great caution, especially under mixed-mode conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalMechanics Research Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
K. Park acknowledges support from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea through grant number NRF-2015R1C1A1A02037663 . G.H. Paulino acknowledges support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant number CMMI 1321661 . The information presented in this paper is the sole opinion of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agencies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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