Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bazant, Zdenek P.
Location Northwestern University
Primary Field Engineering Sciences
Secondary Field Applied Physical Sciences
 Election Citation
Bazant is an engineer who discovered the scaling law for the energetic size effect in quasibrittle structural failure. He verified this law experimentally for many important materials, showed its use for measuring fracture characteristics, and generated models widely used in numerical simulations of structure failure.
 Research Interests
Working first as a structural engineer, I became skeptical of the codified empirical design procedures guarding against quasi-brittle structural failure preceded by distributed cracking and stable fracture growth. The inherent size effects on structural strength were generally attributed to material randomness. My assistants and I demonstrated that this disagreed with experiments. I realized that these effects are caused by stress redistributions and stored energy release, and can be easily captured by asymptotic matching. This led me to a simple size-effect law of surprisingly broad applicability, bridging the power scaling laws of classical fracture mechanics and plasticity. We experimentally verified this law for concrete, rocks, sea ice, fiber composites, toughened ceramics, foams, and snow slabs, and showed its use for identifying cohesive fracture characteristics from experiments. Computer simulation of size effects with nonlocal damage and crack-band models avoiding spurious damage localization and mesh sensitivity followed, so have ramifications to compression fracture, kink bands in fiber composites, extreme value statistics of quasi-brittle failure initiation, microplane models, and micromechanical theory of nonlocality. Currently I am exploring asymptotic techniques for nanoscale, and I continue my long-time researches in creep and hygrothermal effects in concrete, inelastic stability, finite strain, constitutive laws, and probabilistic mechanics.

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