Development of a microstructural cohesive zone model for intergranular hydrogen environmentally assisted cracking

Unai De Francisco, Nicolas O Larrosa, Matthew J Peel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
147 Downloads (Pure)


During the initial stages of hydrogen environmentally assisted cracking (HEAC), including crack incubation, initiation and microstructurally short cracking, the geometrical configuration of the microstructure greatly influences the crack growth behaviour. Therefore, there is a big incentive to generate a model which can replicate intergranular HEAC at a microstructural scale. This report provides a general framework to implement a microstructural intergranular HEAC model by using a cohesive zone approach in Abaqus. The parameters of the phenomenological model were fitted by using in-situ synchrotron tomography observations of crack initiation and propagation during HEAC of AA7449-T7651. After fitting the parameters, the real HEAC behaviour of the aluminium alloy 7449-T7651 has been replicated accurately. Several characteristic HEAC features were achieved, including crack segmentation, preferential cracking along grain boundaries with a high resolved normal stress and cracks slowing down at grain boundary triple junctions. Comparisons with experimental observations show the suitability of this approach for the prognosis of crack initiation and propagation at a microstructural scale under HEAC conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108167
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Early online date22 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), United Kingdom in a doctoral training partnership for a PhD at the University of Bristol. We would like to thank Mike Jackson from BlueQuartz software for his support for the Dream.3D pipeline. Additionally, we would like to thank Dr Antonio Melro for his suggestions during the development of the Abaqus subroutine. We would also like to acknowledge the advanced computing research centre at the University of Bristol for providing access to the BlueCrystal Phase 3 supercomputer.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Microstructurally short cracking
  • Cohesive zone model
  • Aluminium alloys
  • Hydrogen environmentally assisted cracking


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