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Using Abaqus for Modeling Fracture mechanics in a hydraulic descaling process

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Hello friends, my name is Jesus, I am studying a master degree in Materials Science in UANL, Mexico and I am working on a project regarding with simulation of a hot rolling process by using ABAQUS.

Let me give you a brief explanation of it:

I'm developing a model to evaluate the mechanical integrity of a oxide scale layer (mostly FeO) that forms on steel's surface during a reheating process (a steel strip is mantained certain amount of time in a furnace to get an uniform thickness of this layer).  Then this oxide layer has to be removed before entering a finishing mill which reduces the thickness of the steel strip. To do that, it is normal practice to use high pressure water jets to break and remove the oxide layer (descaling process). If this layer is not removed properly, the final sheet of steel will end up with inclusions or surface defects that will result in a poor surface quality product.

As part of the modeling I use Abaqus to study the mechanical integrity (this is a thermomechanical analysis) of oxide scale. The most difficult part in the analysis is the hydraulic descaling (see figure). During descaling process, certain amount of the oxide layer is subjected to a tremendous thermal shock as well as the impact force that will cause the eventual failure and removal of the oxide crust. I have no idea of how to model the cracking and spalling of the oxide crust with Abaqus, I am not familiarized with fracture mechanics, so I tried to used some cohesive elements so that when they reach a critical strees value they could debond at the interface oxide-steel but this elements are no supported for a thermomechanical analysis. Other procedure I was thinking was in some way to "delete" oxide elements after descaling (without modeling crack behavior) and then evaluate the stress distribution and see if the critical stress is reached but this procedure seems unrealistic.

Another choice could be modeling through-thickness cracking but I have never modeled cracks in a simulation model. Could you give me some ideas or comments on how to deal this problem in ABAQUS?, Could you give me also some references so I could get more involved with fracture mechanics? I really appreciate your help.

Thank you very much
I send greetings to all of you and have a nice week!
Regards

Jesus

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