A micromechanical model based on probabilistic principles is proposed to determine the effective fracture toughness increment and the bridging stress-crack opening displacement relationship for brittle matrix composites reinforced with short, poorly bonded fibers. Emphasis is placed on studying the effect of fiber extensibility on the bridging stress and the bridging fracture energy, and to determine its importance in cementitious matrix composites. Since the fibers may not be in an ideal aligned or random state, the analysis is placed in sufficiently general terms to consider any prescribable fiber orientation distribution. The model incorporates the snubbing effect observed during pull-out of fibers inclined at an angle to the crack face normal. In addition, the model allows the fibers to break; any fiber whose load meets or exceeds a single-valued failure stress will fracture rather than pull out. The crack bridging results may be expressed as the sum of results for inextensible fibers and an additional term due to fiber extensibility. An exact analysis is given which gives the steady-state bridging toughness G directly, but presents a non-linear problem for the bridging stress-crack opening (σb – δ) relationship. An approximate analysis is then presented which gives both G and σb – δ directly. To illustrate the effect of extensibility on bridging stress and fracture energy increment due to bridging fibers, a comparison with the inextensible fiber case is provided. It is found that effect of extensibility on fracture energy is negligible for common materials systems. However, extensibility may have a significant effect on the bridging stress-crack opening relationship. The effect of other physical and material parameters such as fiber length, fiber orientation and snubbing friction coefficient is also studied.

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