Shear band localization is investigated by a strain-gradient-enhanced damage model for quasi-brittle geomaterials. This model introduces the strain gradients and their higher-order conjugate stresses into the framework of continuum damage mechanics. The influence of the strain gradients on the constitutive behaviour is taken into account through a generalized damage evolutionary law. A weak-form variational principle is employed to address the additional boundary conditions introduced by the incorporation of the strain gradients and the conjugate higher-order stresses. Damage localization under simple shear condition is analytically investigated by using the theory of discontinuous bifurcation and the concept of the second-order characteristic surface. Analytical solutions for the distributions of strain rates and strain gradient rates, as well as the band width of localised damage are found. Numerical analysis demonstrates the shear band width is proportionally related to the internal length scale through a coefficient function of Poisson’s ratio and a parameter representing the shape of uniaxial stress–strain curve. It is also shown that the obtained distributions of strains and strain gradients are well in accordance with the underlying assumptions for the second-order discontinuous shear band boundary and the weak discontinuous bifurcation theory.
International Journal of Solids and Structures Vol. 42, Issue 20, p. 5335-5355