ASCE has honored Amit M. Kanvinde, Ph.D., M.ASCE, with the 2018 ASCE State of the Art of Civil Engineering Award for the paper “Predicting Fracture in Civil Engineering Steel Structures: State of the Art,” Journal of Structural Engineering, March 2017.
Kanvinde’s paper summarizes important advances in the prediction of fracture in steel structures while also examining different approaches from a structural engineering standpoint, considering trade-offs in accuracy and expense and identifying areas for improvement.
As a scientific discipline, fracture mechanics initially evolved within the mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering disciplines. The Northridge and Kobe earthquakes provided impetus for studying fracture within a context specific to civil (especially earthquake) engineering, resulting in the adaptation of existing methodologies to civil engineering, and more recently, in the development of approaches that address problems peculiar to structural engineering – e.g., earthquake-induced ultra-low-cycle fatigue (ULCF). Much of the literature in fracture mechanics is esoteric when viewed from a structural engineering perspective, arguably disconnected from the practicalities and complexities of civil construction. To even the sophisticated structural engineering researcher and practitioner, fracture mechanics appears to be an inscrutable patchwork of competing theories, addressing different scales, loading regimes, and materials.
With the above background, a major achievement of this paper is synthesizing the existing theories of fracture and fatigue mechanics (including the newest cutting-edge developments) in a manner that is accessible to the structural engineering profession. Without compromising scientific rigor, the paper presents key qualitative and quantitative insights directly applicable to steel construction. Going beyond a mere review of the state of art, the paper critically examines various fracture prediction techniques considering (1) target application, (2) trade-offs between expense and accuracy, (3) limitations, and, perhaps most importantly (4) their relationship to established professional and trade practices – which often use disparate standards for detailing and material specification. This last point is particularly critical from the standpoint of impacting construction practice.
While achieving the above impact through a carefully constructed narrative, the paper is also a veritable compendium of all important theories in fracture mechanics (traditional and micromechanics-based) and fatigue mechanics (ranging from high to ultra-low-cycle fatigue). As such, it is expected to be a starting point for researchers worldwide as they conduct their own literature reviews, as suggested by more than 2,500 downloads within a year of its publication.
The ASCE State-of-the-Art of Civil Engineering Award is presented to the individual, individuals, or committee that has prepared, for the benefit of the profession, the most outstanding paper that reviews and interprets state-of-the-art scientific and technical information.