Automatic Crack Tip Meshing Approach for Constraint-Based Fracture Mechanics Application


Finite element analysis is a popular method used to characterize crack tip stress and strain fields in fracture mechanics problems. In a constraint-based elastic-plastic fracture mechanics, the crack tip stress and strains are essentially dependent on the accurate crack tip finite element configuration. Typical finite element software does not provide control of node and elemental numbering order and sequence which caused difficulty to examine different crack configuration state of stress–strain using automated post-processing codes. A method to automate the creation of finite element mesh of arbitrary lengths and shapes of standard and nonstandard fracture mechanics geometries using a geometric progression technique is described. A list of equations was proposed to develop nodal and elemental model data that represented a defined region of a cracked geometry. Assembly of the regions produced a finite element mesh representing a fracture mechanics cracked geometry which can be incorporated into a typical finite element program. The approach can eliminate the modeling processes of finite element of cracked specimens and offers the ability to control the nodal and elemental numbering system to allow systematic stress and strain elucidation for large degrees of freedom mesh and history-dependent incremental plasticity crack tip analysis. The approach used to develop the finite element mesh was discussed, and examples of the finite element mesh generated by the approach were compared to established two-parameter elastic-plastic fracture mechanics results. Finally, the algorithm codes used to develop the cracked models are supplied as supplementary files to interested users.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE) grant (FRGS/1/2014/TK01/USM/02/5) which funded this research project. The ABAQUS finite element code that was used to perform the analysis was made available under an academic license from Dassault Systemes, K.K. Japan.

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Correspondence to F. Yusof.

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Supplementary Information


Appendix A: A flowchart for mesh creation implementable in a typical programming code


Appendix B: A crack tip mesh graphical user interface (GUI) program using Matlab supplementary file “gui_automate.m”


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Leong, K.H., Yusof, F. & Latiff, R.H.A. Automatic Crack Tip Meshing Approach for Constraint-Based Fracture Mechanics Application. J Fail. Anal. and Preven. (2021).

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  • Fracture mechanics
  • Finite element mesh
  • Crack tip constraint
  • Algorithm-based crack tip modeling