Application of the finite element method to problems in fracture mechanics

  • Peter C. Wood

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Numerical techniques have been finding increasing use in all aspects of fracture mechanics, and often provide the only means for analyzing fracture problems. The work presented here, is concerned with the application of the finite element method to cracked structures.
The present work was directed towards the establishment of a comprehensive
two-dimensional finite element, linear elastic, fracture analysis package.
Significant progress has been made to this end, and features which can now be studied include multi-crack tip mixed-mode problems, involving partial crack closure. The crack tip core element was refined and special local crack tip elements were employed to reduce the element density in the neighbourhood of the core region.
The work builds upon experience gained by previous research workers and, as part of the general development, the program was modified to incorporate the eight-node isoparametric quadrilateral element. Also. a more flexible solving routine was developed, and provided a very compact method of solving large sets of simultaneous equations, stored in a segmented form.
To complement the finite element analysis programs, an automatic mesh
generation program has been developed, which enables complex problems.
involving fine element detail, to be investigated with a minimum of input data. The scheme has proven to be versati Ie and reasonably easy to implement.
Numerous examples are given to demonstrate the accuracy and flexibility
of the finite element technique.
Date of AwardApr 1979
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorT.H. Richards (Supervisor)


  • fracture
  • finite elements
  • plane
  • solids

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