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The limiting behaviour of a one‐dimensional discrete system is studied by means of Γ‐convergence. We consider a toy model of a chain of atoms. The interaction potentials are of Lennard‐Jones type and periodically or stochastically distributed. The energy of the system is considered in the discrete to continuum limit, i.e. as the number of atoms tends to infinity. During that limit, a homogenization process takes place. The limiting functional is discussed, especially with regard to fracture. Secondly, we consider a rescaled version of the problem, which yields a limiting energy of Griffith's type consisting of a quadratic integral term and a jump contribution. The periodic case can be found in [8], the stochastic case in [6,7].

The work in this thesis contains three main topics. These are the passage from discrete to continuous models by means of $\Gamma$-convergence, random as well as periodic homogenization and fracture enabled by non-convex Lennard-Jones type interaction potentials. Each of them is discussed in the following.
We consider a discrete model given by a one-dimensional chain of particles with randomly distributed interaction potentials. Our interest lies in the continuum limit, which yields the effective behaviour of the system. This limit is achieved as the number of atoms tends to infinity, which corresponds to a vanishing distance between the particles. The starting point of our analysis is an energy functional in a discrete system; its continuum limit is obtained by variational $\Gamma$-convergence.
The $\Gamma$-convergence methods are combined with a homogenization process in the framework of ergodic theory, which allows to focus on heterogeneous systems. On the one hand, composite materials or materials with impurities are modelled by a stochastic or periodic distribution of particles or interaction potentials. On the other hand, systems of one species of particles can be considered as random in cases when the orientation of particles matters. Nanomaterials, like chains of atoms, molecules or polymers, are an application of the heterogeneous chains in experimental sciences.
A special interest is in fracture in such heterogeneous systems. We consider interaction potentials of Lennard-Jones type. The non-standard growth conditions and the convex-concave structure of the Lennard-Jones type interactions yield mathematical difficulties, but allow for fracture. The interaction potentials are long-range in the sense that their modulus decays slower than exponential. Further, we allow for interactions beyond nearest neighbours, which is also referred to as long-range.
The main mathematical issue is to bring together the Lennard-Jones type interactions with ergodic theorems in the limiting process as the number of particles tends to infinity. The blow up at zero of the potentials prevents from using standard extensions of the Akcoglu-Krengel subadditive ergodic theorem. We overcome this difficulty by an approximation of the interaction potentials which shows suitable Lipschitz and Hölder regularity. Beyond that, allowing for continuous probability distributions instead of only finitely many different potentials leads to a further challenge.
The limiting integral functional of the energy by means of $\Gamma$-convergence involves a homogenized energy density and allows for fracture, but without a fracture contribution in the energy. In order to refine this result, we rescale our model and consider its $\Gamma$-limit, which is of Griffith's type consisting of an elastic part and a jump contribution.
In a further approach we study fracture at the level of the discrete energies. With an appropriate definition of fracture in the discrete setting, we define a fracture threshold separating the region of elasticity from that of fracture and consider the pointwise convergence of this threshold. This limit turns out to coincide with the one obtained in the variational $\Gamma$-convergence approach.