Finite strain fracture of plates and shells with configurational forces and edge rotations

P. Areias, T. Rabczuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a simple and efficient algorithm for FEM-based computational fracture of plates and shells with both brittle and ductile materials on the basis of edge rotation and load control. Rotation axes are the crack front nodes, and each crack front edge in surface discretizations affects the position of only one or two nodes. Modified positions of the entities maximize the modified mesh quality complying with the predicted crack path (which depends on the specific propagation theory in use). Compared with extended FEM or with classical tip remeshing, the proposed solution has algorithmic and generality advantages. The propagation algorithm is simpler than the aforementioned alternatives, and the approach is independent of the underlying element used for discretization. For history-dependent materials, there are still some transfer of relevant quantities between elements. However, diffusion of results is more limited than with tip or full remeshing. To illustrate the advantages of our approach, three prototype models are used: tip energy dissipation linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM), cohesive-zone approaches, and ductile fracture. Both the Sutton crack path criterion and the path estimated by the Eshelby tensor are employed. Traditional fracture benchmarks, including one with plastic hinges, and newly proposed verification tests are solved. These were found to be very good in terms of crack path and load/deflection accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1122
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun 22


  • Configurational forces
  • Edge rotation
  • Fracture
  • Plasticity
  • Shell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite strain fracture of plates and shells with configurational forces and edge rotations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this