Phase-field modelling of drying induced cracks in initially water saturated porous media

  • Luo, Chenyi (ETH Zurich)
  • Sanavia, Lorenzo (University of Padova)
  • De Lorenzis, Laura (ETH Zurich)

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Phase-field modelling has already proved to be a suitable framework to predict the initiation and propagation of drying cracks in variably saturated porous media. In this work, we focus on some fundamental modelling aspects which have not yet been given sufficient attention. First, different choices for the coupling between the damage and the poro-mechanical fields are evaluated based on their ability to lead to qualitatively reasonable predictions for two benchmark cases of free and restrained desiccation. Then, we conduct the variational analysis of the quasi-static damage evolution. We show that the damage evolution follows first a fundamental branch without localization, and then bifurcates into another branch with damage localization, which leads to the initiation of periodic cracks. The analysis enables the computation of the drying crack spacing as a function of material and loading parameters.