Computational Mechanics

The Computational Mechanics sub programme is concerned with the development of deterministic and probabilistic computational models for simulating the mechanical behaviour of materials and structures. For this purpose, accurate, robust and well-founded models are developed for temporal and spatial discretisation, and algorithms are constructed for the efficient, accurate and robust solution of the ensuing non-linear algebraic equations. Computational mechanics provides basic tools that are utilised in structural engineering research and contributes to materials research.

The primary focus of the research sub programme is the computational analysis of failure in civil engineering materials and structures under static, dynamic and environmental loading conditions. Not only traditional civil engineering materials, such as concrete, steel and soil are investigated, but also new and advanced materials with high-performance properties, such as fibre reinforced materials, polymers, laminates and rubber-like materials, are subjects of research.

The computational modelling of fracture in concrete (with and without steel and/or fibre reinforcement), rock, glass and polymers, shear banding and necking in metals, liquefaction and shear banding in soils, delamination in composite materials and damaging processes in rubber-like materials are of prime interest. The understanding of the formation of such defects and the ability to predict the conditions (mechanical, environmental) under which a defect (crack, shear band, delamination) grows from its initial state to dimensions leading to failure of a structure is of paramount importance. Such problems involve many length scales, starting at the micro-level where defect generating mechanisms act, to the meso-Ievel of the material and through to the level of a structure. It is a great challenge to bridge such length scales through multi-scale computational modelling, a challenge which forms a core element of the research programme. The research themes in the assessment period were the following :

  • Discretisation techniques tor continuous/discontinuous modelling of failure,
  • Multi-scale computational modelling,
  • Advanced spatial discretisation techniques,
  • Inverse modelling techniques to the parameter estimation of failure models.