PUBLICATION: Hypervariate Constitutive Modeling Illustrated via Aleatory Uncertainty in a Foundation Model

The free share link (available until May 24, 2018) is…

Abstract: Even if a ceramic’s homogenized properties (such as anisotropically evolving stiffness) truly can be predicted from complete knowledge of sub-continuum morphology (e.g., locations, sizes, shapes, orientations, and roughness of trillions of crystals, dislocations, impurities, pores, inclusions, and/or cracks), the necessary calculations are untenably hypervariate. Non-productive (almost derailing) debates over shortcomings of various first-principles ceramics theories are avoided in this work by discussing numerical coarsening in the context of a pedagogically appealing buckling foundation model that requires only sophomore-level understanding of springs, buckling hinges, dashpots, etc. Bypassing pre-requisites in constitutive modeling, this work aims to help students to understand the difference between damage and plasticity while also gaining experience in Monte-Carlo numerical optimization via scale-bridging that reduces memory and processor burden by orders of magnitude while accurately preserving aleatory (finite-finite-sampling) perturbations that are crucial to accurately predict bifurcations, such as ceramic fragmentation.

This publication helps to set knowledge needed to migrate cracks from initially uniform orientations (represented as dots on the left sphere) to highly textured orientations of vertical cracking (or any other texture based on the loading history).


This publication uses this simple system to explain many complicated concepts:

This paper would serve as a good project for a smart undergrad or first-year grad student to reproduce the results. It would serve as a familiarization exercise to learn basics of scale bridging, the difference between damage and plasticity, the influence of loading rate, the influence of microscale perturbations in macroscale behavior (e.g. reducing peak strength and scale effects), and binning down an excessively large number of internal variables to obtain a tractable decimated set.  All of that without needing to know anything about constitutive modeling – just a basic knowledge of springs and rigid links would be needed.

Again: see it for free (until May 24) at


Python source code is available on request.

Cite the paper as:

Brannon, R., Jensen, K., and Nayak, D., Journal of the European Ceramic Society (2018),

PUBLICATION: An efficient binning scheme with application to statistical crack mechanics

This paper has an algorithm that alleviates the computational burden of evaluating summations involving thousands or millions of terms, each of which is statistically variable.  It is a simple binning strategy that replaces the large (thousand or million-member) population of terms with a much smaller representative (~10 member) weighted population. This binning method typically gives ~500x computational efficiency boost.


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Publication (Abstract and Erratum): Second-order convected particle domain interpolation (CPDI2) with enrichment for weak discontinuities at material interfaces


Convected particle domain interpolation (CPDI) is a recently developed extension of the material point method, in which the shape functions on the overlay grid are replaced with alternative shape functions, which (by coupling with the underlying particle topology) facilitate efficient and algorithmically straightforward evaluation of grid node integrals in the weak formulation of the governing equations. In the original CPDI algorithm, herein called CPDI1, particle domains are tracked as parallelograms in 2-D (or parallelepipeds in 3-D). In this paper, the CPDI method is enhanced to more accurately track particle domains as quadrilaterals in 2-D (hexahedra in 3-D). This enhancement will be referred to as CPDI2. Not only does this minor revision remove overlaps or gaps between particle domains, it also provides flexibility in choosing particle domain shape in the initial configuration and sets a convenient conceptual framework for enrichment of the fields to accurately solve weak discontinuities in the displacement field across a material interface that passes through the interior of a grid cell. The new CPDI2 method is demonstrated, with and without enrichment, using one-dimensional and two-dimensional examples.

Bib data:

Sadeghirad, A., R. M. Brannon, J.E. Guilkey (2013) Second-order convected particle domain interpolation (CPDI2) with enrichment for weak discontinuities at material interfaces, Int. J. Num. Meth. Engr., vol. 95, 928-952


Bibtex entry:

author = {A. Sadeghirad and R.M. Brannon and J.E. Guilkey},
title = {Second-order convected particle domain interpolation ({CPDI2}) with
enrichment for weak discontinuities at material interfaces},
journal = {Intl. J. Num. Meth. Engng.},
year = {2013},
volume = {95},
pages = {928–952}

Erratum:  Eq. 33 should be

Corrected Eq. 33

Publication: Aleatory quantile surfaces in damage mechanics

ABSTRACT: In statistical damage mechanics, a deterministic failure limit surface is replaced with a scale-dependent family of quantile surfaces. An idealized homogeneous isotropic matrix material containing cracks of random size and orientation is used to elucidate expected mathematical character
of aleatory uncertainty and scale effects for initiation of damage in a brittle material. Scope is limited to statistics and scale dependence for the ONSET (not subsequent progression) of shear-driven failure. Exact analytical solutions for probability of such failure (with an interesting pole-point visualization) are derived for axisymmetric extension or compression of a single-crack sample. A semi-analytical bound on the failure CDF is found for a multi-crack specimen by integrating the single-crack probability over an exponential crack size distribution for which the majority of flaws are small enough to be safe from failure at any orientation. Resulting tails of the predicted failure distribution differ from Weibull theory,
especially in the third invariant.

Selected cool pictures (see the article for more images):


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Uintah Simulations of Perforation Experiments


ABSTRACT: A simulation of a simple penetration experiment is performed using Material Point Method (MPM) through the Uintah Computational Framework (UCF) and interpreted using the post-processing visualization program VisIt. MPM formatting sets a background mesh with explicit boundaries and monitors the interaction of particles within that mesh to predict the varying movements and orientations of a material in response to loads. The modeled experiment compares the effects of an aluminum sphere impacting an aluminum sheet at varying velocities. In this work, the experiment called launch T-1428 (by Piekutowski and Poorman) is simulated using UCF and VisIt. The two materials in the experiment are both simulated using a hypoelastic-plastic model. Varying grid resolutions were used to verify the convergent behavior of the simulations to the experimental results. The validity of the simulation is quantified by comparing perforation hole diameter. A full 3-D simulation followed and was also compared to experimental results. Results and issues in both 2-D and 3-D simulation efforts are discussed. Both the axisymmetric and 3-D simulation results provided very good data with clear convergent behavior.

See the link below for the full report.

Experiment in Uintah

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Abstract: Deformation and Fracture of Heterogeneous Media using Boundary-Conforming Convected Particle Characteristic Functions in the Material Point Method

This is an abstract for

NWU2013: Advances in Computational Mechanics with Emphasis on Fracture and Multiscale Phenomena. Workshop honoring Professor Ted Belytschko’s 70th Birthday.  April 18, 2013 – April 20, 2013, Evanston, IL, USA

The organizers allocated only 10 minutes for each person’s talk (including big wigs like Tom Hughes), so we might just present this topic in the form of a puppet show with enough information to tickle the audience to chat with us about it in the hallway!


Rebecca Brannon*, Alireza Sadeghirad,  James Guilkey

Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT, 84112


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Conference Poster: Scaled surrogate Hertzian bearing pairs for contact and wear testing

Contact pressures

Sanders, A. P., and R. M. Brannon. (2012). “ Scaled surrogate Hertzian bearing pairs for contact and wear testing.” Transactions of the Orthopaedic Research Society 2012 Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Feb. 4-7, Poster 2070. 2012 ORS poster 01 small


New implant bearing materials require extensive laboratory testing before clinical use, but the currently practiced contact and wear test methods impose limitations. Screening wear tests of prototype materials are typically done using simple bearing shapes (such as a ball-on-flat pair) and low loads. These tests are relatively simple and inexpensive, but they lack representative bearing shapes and contact stresses. Simulator wear tests on full-scale components overcome this shortcoming by implementing higher loads and complex, physiologic motion patterns. However, these tests are lengthy and expensive; so, they are reserved for final design testing. Surrogate test specimens that would mimic the contact mechanics of full-scale bearing pairs could improve the relevance of early screening tests. This research examines the hypothesis that a reduced-scale surrogate Hertzian contact pair can elicit a smaller scale, equal stress version of the contact response of a larger original contact pair. A chosen original contact pair mimics a knee implant femoral-tibial condylar interface, and a full-scale surrogate pair is found using recently published formulas. New formulas were derived to find a smaller version of the surrogate pair. The contact pairs were tested in quasi-static normal loading, and their contact patches were measured to evaluate the hypothesis.