Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Gang Wang

Committee Member

Kader Frendi

Committee Member

Judy Schneider

Committee Member

Jason Mayeur

Committee Member

Dongsheng Wu

Research Advisor

Gang Wang


Brittleness--Mathematical models, Concrete--Mechanical properties, Space colonies--Design and construction, Mars (Planet)


The purpose of this work is to develop a continuum damage constitutive material model and apply it to structural response characterization of brittle materials for in-situ construction of space infrastructure. This research improves and expands the utility of the physics-based dominant crack algorithm (DCA) model in order to account for very low-strain rate phenomena in plain concrete structures. The DCA model is strain-rate dependent and has been effectively utilized for highly dynamic phenomena. The model has a strong basis in micromechanics and is able to capture the strain-softening response of brittle materials. The newly developed constitutive model can be easily implemented into a finite element analysis (FEA) platform to predict structural response. Simulation results show good correlation to plain concrete experimental data throughout the material response, including the full softening phase at quasi-static load conditions, and demonstrate the applicability of the model for the intended use. Plain concrete represents a comparable terrestrial construction material and serves as a good proxy to examine the validity of the model. Current research will benefit a growing research field of space habitat construction techniques with in-situ materials through additive manufacturing. The full characterization of material behavior is of vital importance for the structural integrity assessment of habitats and infrastructure that will assure human survival under very challenging environments, isolated in space and time from Earth.



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