Variational multiscale method for fully coupled thermomechanical interface contact and debonding problems

Wan Wan, Pinlei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this study, a computational framework is proposed for thermomechanical contact and debonding problems with proper thermal resistance at the interface. Using the Variational Multiscale (VMS) framework, we present a fully coupled thermomechanical formulation with an explicit expression of the pressure at the contact interface. The formulation considers the quasi-static balance of the momentum and the transient heat transfer problem in a fully coupled fashion. At the interface, two different contact constitutive models are utilized for tension and compression. For tensile problems, in the mechanical phase, a tensile debonding model is employed, whereas in the thermal phase, the displacement-dependent model is employed. For compressive problems, in the mechanical phase, a Coulomb frictional model is employed while in the thermal phase, a pressure-dependent model is embedded. Because of the naturally derived interface stability terms that possess area- and stress-weighting, the proposed VMS formulation accommodates contact/debonding and contact/frictional sliding at the interface due to both thermal and mechanical loading without losing numerical stability. The proposed method is applied to a class of numerical test problems with discontinuity at the interfaces, and good agreement with analytical and numerical data is achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-135
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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