AbstractTo investigate the fracture property of the rock–concrete interface after sustained loading, creep tests were conducted on composite rock–concrete beams with two mechanical grooving interfaces, 4×4 and 7×7 interfaces, under two sustained load levels, 50% and 75% of the maximum load. After 90-day sustained loading, the creep specimens were unloaded and reloaded to failure in the subsequent three-point bending tests. The viscoelastic characteristic of the rock–concrete interface was numerically simulated by employing the Bailey–Norton creep law to describe the constitutive relationships of bilateral materials. Based on the numerical results, the elastic and creep strain energies within the whole specimen and the core region near the crack tip were calculated during the loading process. The results indicated that during the creep tests, the local elastic strain energy decreased due to the stress relaxation near the crack tip, and the local creep strain energy increased due to the accumulated creep strain. It was found that, at crack initiation status, the average elastic strain energy density in the core region after sustained loading was identical to that under static loading, which indicates that the elastic energy in the core region dominated the fracture behavior. Then, an energy-based fracture criterion was proposed to judge the crack initiation of the rock–concrete interface considering viscoelastic characteristics. It was found that the average elastic strain energy density of the rock–concrete interface was not affected by the viscoelasticity, which can be regarded as a material parameter.

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