Assessment of cohesive traction-separation relationships in ABAQUS: A comparative study

Kyoungsoo Park, Habeun Choi, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The definition of a traction-separation relationship is essential in cohesive zone models because it describes the nonlinear fracture process zone. A few models are investigated in this paper and a comparative study is conducted. Among various traction-separation relationships, the one in Abaqus is assessed by evaluating the cohesive traction and its tangent stiffness according to a given separation path. The results demonstrate that the traction-separation relationship in Abaqus can lead to non-physical responses because of a pathological positive tangent stiffness under softening condition. This is reflected in cohesive tractions that increase and decrease repeatedly while the cohesive separation monotonically increases. Thus, together with supporting information, this paper conveys the message that a traction-separation relationship should be developed and selected with great caution, especially under mixed-mode conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalMechanics Research Communications
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Abaqus
  • Cohesive zone model
  • Nonlinear fracture mechanics
  • PPR model
  • Traction-separation relationship


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of cohesive traction-separation relationships in ABAQUS: A comparative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this