Finite Element Discretization for Mixed-Mode Fracture Problems

by A. R. Sabouni, Cornell Univ, Ithaca, NY, USA,
A. El-Zanaty, Cornell Univ, Ithaca, NY, USA,
Anthony R. Ingraffea, Cornell Univ, Ithaca, NY, USA,

Abstract: The finite element discretization of mixed-mode problems in fracture mechanics is investigated. The characteristics of the mesh near the crack affect the accuracy of the finite element solution significantly. An increase in the number of crack tip elements results in great improvement in accuracy. The effect of the ratio of the length of the crack tip element to the crack length is shown not to be critical if it is kept within a certain range. The aspect ratio of the singular elements around the crack tip is shown to be critical. Mesh refinement of regions away from the crack zone produces very minimal effect on the solution. In general, symmetric meshing around the crack tip gives much better accurary compared to non-symmetric meshing. An improved procedure for the calculation of stress intensity factors is introduced.

Subject Headings: Cracking | Finite element method | Mesh generation | Asymmetry | Structural design | Structural members

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