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European Congress on Computational Methods in Applied Sciences and Engineering

P. Neittaanmki, T. Rossi, S. Korotov, E. Oate, J. Priaux, and D. Knrzer (eds.)
Jyvskyl, 2428 July 2004



Ludovic Jason , Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

GeM Institut de Recherche en Gnie Civil et Mcanique

Ecole Centrale de Nantes Universit de Nantes CNRS
1, rue de la No BP 92101 F44300 Nantes, France
e-mails :,

Laboratori de Clcul Numric

Departament de Matemtica Aplicada III
Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya, Jordi Girona 1-3 E-08034 Barcelona, Spain
e-mail :

EDF Recherche et Dveloppement

1, avenue du Gnral de Gaulle
F 92141 Clamart Cedex
e-mail :

Key words: Damage, plasticity, model, concrete

Abstract. Elastic damage models or elastic plastic constitutive laws are not totally sufficient
to describe the behavior of concrete. They indeed fail to reproduce the unloading slopes
during cyclic loads which define experimentally the value of the damage in the material.
When coupled effects are considered, in hydromechanical problems especially, the capability
of the numerical model to reproduce the unloading behavior is thus essential, as an accurate
value of the damage is needed. A combined plastic damage formulation is proposed in this
contribution. It is applied on simple tension compression loading to evaluate the ability of
the law to simulate elementary situations. Two structural applications are then considered in
the form of a composite steel concrete tube and a representative structural volume of a
confinement building for nuclear power plants.

Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian


Elastic damage models or elastic plastic laws are not totally sufficient to capture the
constitutive behavior of concrete correctly. In some cases (using damage mechanics), the
calculation of the damage variable (for isotropic cases) or tensor (anisotropic laws) is a key
point. It can become essential when coupled effects are considered (coupling between damage
and permeability, damage and porosity ). In [1], an experimental law is proposed between
the damage distribution in the material and its gas permeability (figure 1). Damage is
measured using the unloading slope during cyclic compressive loading. In this case, the
capability of the constitutive model to capture the unloading behavior is thus essential if a
proper evaluation of the permeability needs to be achieved.
An elastic damage model is not appropriate as irreversible strains cannot be captured: a
zero stress corresponds to a zero strain and the value of the damage is thus overestimated
(figure 2b). An elastic plastic relation is not adapted either (even with softening, see for
example [2]) as the unloading curve follows the elastic slope (figure 2c). Another alternative
consists in combining these two approaches to propose an elastic plastic damage law. The
softening behavior and the decrease of the elastic modulus are reproduced by the damage part
while the plasticity effect accounts for the irreversible strains. With this formulation,
experimental unloading can be simulated correctly (figure 2a).

= exp[(11.3D)1.64 ]

Figure 1: Permeability evolution as a function of the damage value





(1-D) E

(1-D) E






Plastic model

Figure 2 : Loading unloading behavior Experimental and simulated behaviors

Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

It is such a model which is presented in this contribution. First, the constitutive law is
validated on two elementary tests. A simple tension and a cyclic compression are used to
evaluate the capability of the model to simulate simple but relevant applications. Second, two
structural tests are considered in the form of a composite steel concrete tube and a structural
representative volume of a containment building for French nuclear power plants.
Plasticity effects (irreversible strains for example) and damage (softening) are both
decribed by the formulation. Nevertheless, they are not entirely coupled. From the total strain
tensor , an effective stress is computed from plasticity equations. Then, with the elastic
plastic strain decomposition ( = e + p ), the damage variable D and the real stress are
calculated. The main advantage of this approach is to fit to numerous constitutive relations.
2.1 Plastic yield surface
In this contribution, the plastic yield surface has been chosen to fulfill three main
objectives. First, irreversible effects have to develop during loading (achieved by definition
by every plasticity law). Then, the volumetric behavior has to be simulated correctly.
Especially, the change from a contractant to a dilatant evolution during simple compression
test has to be reproduced. This condition prevents using Von Mises equations, functions of the
second stress invariant, that provide an elastic volumetric response. Finally, the brittle
ductile transition has to be reproduced. For high hydrostatic pressures, plastic effects appear
experimentally (see [3] for details). It supposes a closed yield surface along the first invariant
(plastic threshold in confinement) and eliminates Drcker Prager equations.
The chosen yield surface depends on the three normalized stress invariant ( , , ) and on
one hardening internal variable kh ranging from 0 to 1 (definition of a limit surface for kh = 1)


s 'ij s ' ji


= arcsin(

3 s 'ij s ' jk s 'ki

2 ( s 'ij s ' ji )3/ 2


with ij and sij the effective and deviatoric stress components respectively. rc is a parameter
of the model. F is defined with three main functions k (hardening function), c (deviatoric
invariant) and r (deviatoric shape function):

F = ( ')

k( ', kh ) c 2 ( ' )
r 2 ( ')


The classical equations of plasticity models are solved using an iterative algorithm based
on a Newton Raphson scheme (see [5] for details).
Figure (3a) shows the evolution of the yield surface with the hardening parameter in simple
compression. Figure (3b) highlights the non symmetry of the plastic law with the Lode angle

Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

(in simple compression =

, simple tension =

and hydrostatic confinement = 0 ).

Finally, figure (3c) illustrates the limit surfaces for two values of . When the hardening
parameter kh reaches its critical level (equal to one), the yield surface becomes a failure one
and does not evolve any more.



Figure 3: Evolution of the plastic yield surface (hardening, lode angle and failure)



The damage model used in this contribution was initially developed in [6]. It describes the
constitutive behavior of concrete by introducing a scalar variable D which quantifies the
influence of microcracking. To describe the evolution of damage, an equivalent strain eq is
computed from the elastic strain tensor e
e = E 1 '


with E-1 the inverse of the elastic stiffness.

eq =

i =1

(< e i > + ) 2

where <ei>+ are the positive principal values of the elastic strains.


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

The damage loading surface g is defined by :

g ( e , D) = d ( e ) D


where the damage D takes the maximum value reached by d during the history of loading
D = Max/ t (d ,0) . d is computed from an evolution law that distinguishes tensile and
compressive behaviors through two couples of scalars (t, Dt) for tension and (c, Dc) for
d ( e ) = t ( e ) Dt ( eq ) + c ( e ) Dc ( eq )


The definition of the different parameters can be found in [6]. The damage evolution
conditions are finally given by the Kuhn Tucker expression:
g 0, D 0, g D = 0


Once the damage has been computed, the real stress is determined using the equation :

= (1 D) '



The elastic plastic damage formulation is now going to be validated on two simple but key
applications: tension and cyclic compression. The objective is naturally to compare the
numerical results with experiments but also with the elastic damage law for which plastic
strains are equal to zero.
3.1. Simple tension test

For concrete, tension is the most relevant loading that a model has to predict as far as
cracking is concerned. It is indeed when concrete is subjected to tension that the first cracks
usually appear. That is why the numerical response (elastic plastic damage law) is first
compared with such a test [7]. Figure (4a) gives the axial stress strain curve. To evaluate the
interest of including plasticity in the formulation, a pure damage model is also considered for
which the plastic strains are supposed to keep a constant zero value so as the elastic strains
equal exactly the total strains (original damage model [6]). Figure (4b) illustrates the
simulation with the elastic damage model. As the development of damage is predominant
during simple tension tests, the two models are able to reproduce the experiment globally.
Especially, the elastic plastic damage constitutive law gives a correct value of the peak
position and simulates well the post peak behavior. Choosing the appropriate parameters, the
model is thus adapted for simple tension test.

Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian



Figure 4 : Simple tension test. Comparison between simulation and experiment for the simple damage and
plastic damage laws.

3.2. Cyclic compression simulation

Cyclic compression is the second elementary test. Experimental results are taken from [8].
Figure (5a) illustrates the numerical response without plasticity. With this type of relation, a
zero stress corresponds to a zero strain. The unloading curve is elastic with a slope equal to
the damage Youngs modulus Ed
Ed = (1 D) E0


with E0 the virgin Youngs modulus. The numerical response using the elastic plastic damage
model is given in figure (6a). This time, damage induces the global softening behavior of
concrete while the plastic part reproduces quantitatively the evolution of the irreversible
strains. Experimental and numerical unloading slopes are thus similar, contrary to the simple
damage formulation response.
This difference could seem negligible, it is in fact essential if a correct value of the damage
needs to be captured. The elastic damage model overestimates D whereas the full constitutive
law provides more acceptable results. Figures (5b) and (6b) illustrate the differences between
the two approaches in term of volumetric behaviors. While, with the simple damage law, the
volumetric strains are negative, the introduction of plasticity induces a change in the
volumetric response, from contractant (negative volumetric strains) to dilatant, a phenomenon
which is experimentally observed (see [3] for example)
The introduction of plasticity associated with the development of damage plays thus a key
role in the numerical simulation of a cyclic compression test. Irreversible strains during
loading are quantitatively reproduced, the softening behavior and the unloading slopes are
better described. Moreover, the volumetric response that was totally misevaluated by the
elastic damage model, is correctly simulated by the full plastic damage formulation.

Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian



Figure 5: Cyclic compression test for the elastic damage law. Axial (a) and volumetric (b) responses



Figure 6: Cyclic compression test for the elastic plastic damage model. Axial (a) and volumetric (b) responses

4.1. Circular concrete filled steel tube (passive confinement)

To highlight the interest of the presented constitutive law, the behaviour of a circular
concrete filled steel tube (CFT) is going to be simulated. The dimensions and geometry of the
sample and the mechanical properties experimentally reported in [9], measured on non
wrapped specimens, are listed in table 1.
The steel concrete interface is assumed to be perfect. For the considered compressive
strength fc, Giakoumelis and Lam [10] demonstrate with greased and non greased cylinders,
that the steel-concrete interface has little influence on the global behaviour.

Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

Geometry (mm)


Es (Pa)
21 1010

e (MPa)

E (Pa)
2.18 1010

fc (MPa)

Table 1 : Geometry and mechanical properties of the circular CFT as experimentally reported in [8]

A vertical displacement is applied on both steel and concrete plane faces. Two simulations
are proposed, the first one using the elastic plastic damage formulation and the second one
using the elastic damage constitutive law. The steel tube is modelled with a Von Mises
relation (e = 279.9 MPa and Et = 2500 MPa for the tangent hardening modulus). One fourth
of the cylinder is meshed for a 3D computation.
Figures (7a) and (7b) provide a comparison between the simulations with the two approaches
and experiments. With the elastic plastic damage relation, numerical and experimental axial
forces are in agreement for a given axial strain. The confinement effect is highlighted with
an increase of the maximal compressive strength (compared to fc). On the contrary, the
damage model underestimates the global behaviour of the column with the apparition of a
softening branch which is not observed during measurements. Note that the elastic behaviour
does not fit exactly, same as for the simulations performed in [9], it is probably due to
experimental differences between the elastic mechanical properties measured on wrapped and
non wrapped samples (incomplete hydratation of concrete for example, see [11] for details).
Experimentally [8], no confinement effect is noticed at the beginning of the loading. The
transversal strain in concrete is lower than in steel due to differences in the Poisson ratio (0.2
and 0.3 respectively). Concrete is thus under lateral tension (figure 8a). As the axial load
increases, plasticity is responsible for a change in the Poisson ratio. Lateral expansion in
concrete gradually becomes higher than in the steel tube. A radial pressure develops at the
interface and a confinement effect appears (passive confinement) (figure 8b).
The evolution of the radial stress at the interface as a function of the axial strain is provided in
figure (9a) using the full formulation. Figure (9b) illustrates the evolution of the transversal
strains c and s in concrete and in the steel respectively. Same as what is observed
experimentally, concrete is first subjected to tension and then to compression. The change in
the sign occurs immediately when c becomes higher than s.
On the contrary, with the simple elastic damage constitutive law, as c is always lower than s,
the concrete is only loaded in lateral tension. No passive confinement is observed and that is
why the peak in the axial load is so small and inadequate compared with experiment (figures
10a and 10b).
The study of the volumetric behaviour yields the same conclusions (figure 11). The change
from a contractant to a dilatant evolution obtained with the introduction of plasticity is a direct
consequence of the increase of the concrete transversal strains. With the elastic damage
relation, the volumetric response is always contractant.

Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

As a conclusion, the elastic plastic damage constitutive law is necessary to achieve the change
of Poisson ratio that accounts for the passive confinement. For concrete filled steel tubes
subjected to axial compressive loading, it is possible to reproduce experimental results
correctly and especially the evolution of the axial capacity.

(a) a



Figure 7 : Simulation of a CFT

(a) Evolution of the axial force as a function of the axial strain. Comparison between the elastic plastic damage
formulation and the experiment; (b) Comparison between the elastic plastic damage and the elastic damage



c < s

c > s

Figure 8 : Evolution of the radial pressure ( r ) as a function of the steel ( s ) and concrete ( c ) transversal


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian



Figure 9 : Transversal behaviour using the elastic plastic damage model

(a) Evolution of the concrete transversal stress as a function of the axial strain; (b) Evolution of the transversal
concrete and steel transversal strains as a function of the axial strain; (c) Zoom on the first part of the curve.



Figure 10 : Transversal behaviour using the elastic damage model

(a) Evolution of the transversal stress as a function of the axial strain, (b) evolution of the concrete and strain
transversal strains as function of the axial strain

Figure 11 : Evolution of the volumetric strain as a function of the axial force for both approaches.


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

4.2. Representative Structural Volume of a containment building

The application presented in this part has been proposed by Electricit de France. The test,
named PACE 1300, is a Representative Structural Volume (RSV) of a prestressed pressure
containment vessel (PPCV) of a French 1300 MWe nuclear power plant. Figure 12 illustrates
the location of the RSV within the entire PPCV structure. The model incorporates almost all
components of the real structure: concrete, vertical and horizontal reinforcement bars,
transversal reinforcements, and prestressed tendons in both horizontal and vertical directions.
The size of the RSV is chosen to respect 3 conditions: large enough to include a sufficient
number of components (specially prestress tendons) and to offer a significant observation area
in the centre, far enough from boundary conditions, while remaining as small as possible to
ease computations. The model was prepared using Gibiane [12] mesh generating scripts
which create models with different mesh refinements. This was an important aspect of this
application, where the mesh size effect was of great concern on various nonlinear
The RSV includes 11 horizontal and 10 vertical reinforcement bars (on both internal and
external faces), 5 horizontal and 3 vertical prestressed tendons, and 24 reinforcement hoops
uniformly distributed in the volume. The geometry of the problem is given in figure 13.
Figure 14 provides information about the steel distribution and properties.

Figure 12. Position of the extracted Representative Structural Volume (RSV).

Figure 13. Geometry of the Representative Structural Volume (RSV)


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian


Horizontal internal reinf. bars

Horizontal external reinf.bars
Vertical internal reinf. bars
Vertical external reinf. bars
Horizontal tendons
Vertical tendons




* Hoops are uniformly distributed in the representative volume

Figure 14 : Steel geometries and properties

Figure 15: Definition of the F.E. model indicating the boundary SG, SD, SH and SB


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian












Boundary conditions in
Boundary conditions in stress
PSH : horizontal prestress
ND : zero normal displacement
5.28 MN per tendon
on SG and SD
PSV : vertical prestress
NV : zero vertical relation on
6.93 MN per tendon
WE : weight of the
surrounding structure
RO : zero rotation on SH
1.61 MPa
g : gravity

IP : internal pressure
BE : tensile pressure
proportional to the internal
pressure (bottom effect)

Figure 16. Boundary conditions and loading for the Representative Volume

The behaviour of the RSV needs to be as close as possible to the in situ situation. The
following boundary conditions have been chosen : face SB blocked along OZ, on face SH all
nodes are restrained to follow the same displacement along OZ and no rotations are allowed
for faces SG and SD (see Figures 15 and 16). A more adequate boundary condition would
have probably been a periodic one on SG and SD.
In order to model the effect of prestressed tendons, bar elements were anchored to faces
SG and SD for horizontal cables and to faces SB and SH for vertical tendons, then prestressed
using internal forces. Then, these elements are restrained to surrounding concrete elements to
represent the prestressing technology applied in French PPCVs. The integrity test loading is
represented by a radial pressure on the internal face SI and the bottom effect applied on face
SH (tensile pressure proportional to the internal pressure to simulate the effect of the
neighbouring structure). The body weight of RSV and that of the surrounding upper-structure
are also taken into account. With these conditions, a mesh containing 16,500 Hexa20
elements for concrete and 1200 bar elements for reinforcement and tendons is used in the
presented computation.
Figure 17 provides the internal pressure applied on the volume as a function of the
displacement of a point located at the bottom right of the internal face, using the elastic plastic
damage formulation. This curve can be divided in four parts. The initial state corresponds to
the application of the prestress on the tendons. This yields a compaction of the volume and


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

due to the boundary conditions (no normal displacement on the lateral face), it imposes an
initial negative radial displacement (see figure 18). Then, upon application of the internal
pressure, there is a zone of linear behaviour where the compaction is reduced and the structure
returns towards its initial rest position before undergoing tension for higher values of internal
pressure. Damage does not evolve during state 2. The development of damage occurs during
state 3. Finally, a partial unloading of the volume occurs (state 4) due to heavy cracking of the
State 3

State 1

State 2

State 4

Figure 17: Displacement Pressure curve for the representative structural volume
Step 2 : Application of the
internal pressure
Step zero
Step 1 : Initial state after the
application of the prestress

Figure 18: Radial deflection of the RSV through different steps (schematic). View from the top of the volume

Figure 19 describes the distribution of the damage variable in the volume for two different
loading steps (just after the apparition of non linearity and after the peak). Damage initially
develops along the vertical tendon which is located in the middle of the mesh. Then, it
propagates in the depth of the volume and along the vertical axis. It finally forms a localized


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian

damaged zone in the middle of the structure. Similar results can be found in [13] with the
elastic damage model (without plasticity). It tends to prove that for this tension dominant
application, the introduction of plasticity does not disturb the development of damage.
However, it is the amount of damage at a given loading state which is different according to
the damage and plastic damage models. In the second one, damage is lower than in the first
one and effects on the material permeability are drastically different (see figure 1). It follows
that evaluation of leakage according to these two models are expected to be very different too.

Figure 19 : Damage distribution in the representative structural volume. Initiation of the damage and
localized band. The blacker the zone is, the larger the damage is.


An elastic plastic damage formulation has been proposed and tested on both tension and
compression applications. It has been shown that the constitutive law proposes the same
advantages as the elastic damage model for tension dominant cases but also improves the
constitutive response when compression is considered.
For simple tension test, the law is able to simulate both peak and post peak (especially
softening) behaviors. The choice for the plastic yield surface enables to reproduce
qualitatively and quantitatively the axial and volumetric responses of a concrete cylinder
loaded in compression. Particularly, the development of irreversible strains and the change
from a contractant to a dilatant volumetric evolution are correctly simulated.
For structural applications, the improvements are also highlighted. Including plasticity is
the most appropriate solution to achieve the passive confinement effect of a concrete filled
steel tube (increase in the Poisson ratio). Finally, for the representative structural volume, the
development of damage is correctly described, following the same path as previously
mentioned in former studies.
As a conclusion, this constitutive law may represent an appropriate tool to simulate the
experimental damage value and may be used for coupled problems (hydro mechanical
simulations) for example.


Ludovic Jason, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot, Antonio Huerta and Shahrokh Ghavamian


Partial financial support from EDF and from the EU through MAECENAS project (FIS52001-00100) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors particularly thank R. Crouch
(University of Sheffield) for his help in the design and the numerical development of the
plasticity model. The authors would like to thank EDF for scientific support toward the
developments in the FE code Code_Aster.

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