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Durability and damage tolerance are engineering definitions of phenomenological behavior. We talk about them in terms of the life and remaining strength of engineering materials and components, generally as design criteria. Hence, there is a need to associate “testing and design” in this context. But measurements of life and remaining strength are, indeed, only phenomenological; many different sets of conditions and circumstances can produce the same remaining strength and life. In that sense, such data are “virtual reality,” i.e., they are related to the fundamental physics and mechanics that define them only through interpretations. Mechanistic models are used for such interpretations, and computer-based simulations are convenient ways to combine such models to estimate durability and damage tolerance. Such simulations are also “virtual realities,” of course. This paper will address the question of how to construct mechanistic models and related experiments that provide an interpretative link between the fundamental mechanical, chemical, kinetic, and thermodynamic processes that control the long-term behavior of such materials and the remaining strength and life that defines durability and damage tolerance. Comparisons of computer simulations with experimental data will be the basis for the discussion.
life prediction, composites, durability, simulation
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA