Phase field modelling of crack propagation, branching and coalescence in rocks

Shuwei Zhou, Xiaoying Zhuang, Hehua Zhu, Timon Rabczuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

285 Citations (Scopus)


We present a phase field model (PFM) for simulating complex crack patterns including crack propagation, branching and coalescence in rock. The phase field model is implemented in COMSOL and is based on the strain decomposition for the elastic energy, which drives the evolution of the phase field. Then, numerical simulations of notched semi-circular bend (NSCB) tests and Brazil splitting tests are performed. Subsequently, crack propagation and coalescence in rock plates with multiple echelon flaws and twenty parallel flaws are studied. Finally, complex crack patterns are presented for a plate subjected to increasing internal pressure, the (3D) Pertersson beam and a 3D NSCB test. All results are in good agreement with previous experimental and numerical results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-192
Number of pages19
JournalTheoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Crack branching
  • Crack propagation
  • Phase field
  • Rock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Phase field modelling of crack propagation, branching and coalescence in rocks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this