A continuum damage-breakage faulting model accounting for solid-granular transitions

Vladimir Lyakhovsky, & Yehuda Ben-Zion

Under Review 2014, SCEC Contribution #1919

We present a thermodynamically-based formulation for mechanical modeling of faulting processes in the seismogenic brittle crust using a continuum damage-breakage rheology. The model combines previous results of continuum damage framework for brittle solids with continuum breakage mechanics for granular flow. The formulation accounts for the density of distributed cracking and other internal flaws in damaged rocks with a scalar damage parameter, and addresses the grain size distribution of a granular phase in a failure slip zone with a breakage parameter. The stress-strain relation and kinetics of the damage and breakage processes are governed by the total energy function of the system, which combines the energy of the damaged solid with the energy of the granular material. A dynamic brittle instability is associated with a critical level of damage in the solid, leading to loss of convexity of the solid energy function and transition to a granular phase associated with lower energy level. A non-local formulation provides an intrinsic length scale associated with the internal damage structure, which leads to a finite length scale for damage localization that eliminates the unrealistic singular localization of local models. Shear heating during deformation can lead to a secondary finite-width internal localization. The formulation provides a framework for studying multiple aspects of brittle deformation, including potential feedback between evolving elastic moduli and properties of the slip localization zone and subsequent rupture behavior. The model has a more general transition from slow deformation to dynamic rupture than that associated with frictional sliding on a single pre-existing failure zone, and gives time and length scales for the onset of the dynamic fracturing process. Several features including the existence of finite localization width and transition from slow to rapid dynamic slip are illustrated using numerical simulations. A configuration having an existing narrow slip zone with localized damage produces for appropriate loading conditions an overall cyclic stickÔÇôslip motion. The simulated frictional response includes transitions from friction coefficient of ~0.7 at low slip velocity to dynamic friction below 0.4 at slip rates above ~0.1 m/s, followed by rapidly increasing friction for slip rates above ~1 m/s, consistent with laboratory observations.

Lyakhovsky, V., & Ben-Zion, Y. (2014). A continuum damage-breakage faulting model accounting for solid-granular transitions. Pure and Applied Geophysics, (under review).