A comparison between some fracture modelling approaches in 2D LEFM using finite elements

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The finite element method has been widely used to solve different problems in the field of fracture mechanics. In the last two decades, new methods have been developed to improve the accuracy of the solution in 2D linear elastic fracture mechanics problems, such as the extended finite element method (XFEM) or the phantom node method (PNM). The goal of this work is to quantify the differences between some numerical approaches: standard finite element method (FEM), mechanical property degradation, interelemental crack method with multi-point constraints, XFEM and PNM. We explain the different techniques analysed together with their advantages and disadvantages. We compare these numerical techniques to model fracture using problems of reference with known solutions, evaluating their behaviour in terms of convergence with respect to the element size and accuracy of the stress intensity factor (SIF), stresses ahead the crack tip and crack propagation prediction. Some of the new techniques have shown a better accuracy in SIF calculation or stress fields ahead the crack tip and other lead to high errors in local results estimations. However, all methods reviewed here can predict crack propagation for the problems of reference of this work, showing good accuracy in crack orientation prediction.
Finite element modelling, Fracture mechanics, Numerical modelling, Phantom node method, Xfem
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