Advances in Cohesive Zone Modeling of Dynamic Fracture

  • Andrew Seagraves
  • Raúl Radovitzky


In this chapter, we review the state of the-art in computational methods for modeling dynamic fracture of brittle solids based on the popular cohesive element approach. The discussion includes a detailed review of the underlying theory, its implementation via interface elements in its two different flavors: the intrinsic and extrinsic approach, as well as the application of the method to different concrete problems in dynamic fracture. Limitations and numerical issues are discussed in detail. As a means to address some of these issues, we describe an alternative approach based on a discontinuous Galerkin (DG) reformulation of the continuum problem that exploits the virtues of the existing cohesive element methods. The scalability and accuracy of the DG method for fracture mechanics is demonstrated through wave propagation and spall tests in ceramics. Lastly, some unresolved open problems and numerical issues pertaining to cohesive zone modeling of fracture are briefly discussed.


Dynamic fracture mechanics Brittle solids Discontinuous Galerkin Methods Cohesive zone model Parallel Computing 



This work was supported in part by the U.S. Army through the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, under Contract DAAD-19-02-D-0002 with the U.S. Army Research Office. The content does not necessarily reflect the position of the Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Partial support from the office of Naval Research through a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program on “Cellular material concepts for force protection”, Prime Award no. N00014-07-1-0764 is also gratefully acknowledged.

The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Ludovic Noels who has kindly read the manuscript and suggested many useful modifications.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Seagraves
    • 1
    • 2
  • Raúl Radovitzky
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Aeronautics and AstronauticsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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