Computational Mechanics

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 325–342 | Cite as

Three-dimensional crack propagation with distance-based discontinuous kernels in meshfree methods

  • Ettore Barbieri
  • Nik Petrinic
Original Paper


Distance fields are scalar functions defining the minimum distance of a given point in the space from the boundary of an object. Crack surfaces are geometric entities whose shapes can be arbitrary, often described with ruled surfaces or polygonal subdivisions. The derivatives of distance functions for such surfaces are discontinuous across the surface, and continuous all around the edges. These properties of the distance function were employed to build intrinsic enrichments of the underlying mesh-free discretisation for efficient simulation of three-dimensional crack propagation, removing the limitations of existing criteria (reviewed in this paper). Examples show that the proposed approach is able to introduce quite convoluted crack paths. The incremental nature of the developed approach does not require re-computation of the enrichment for the entire crack surface as advancing crack front extends incrementally as a set of connected surface facets. The concept is based on purely geometric representation of discontinuities thus addressing only the kinematic aspects of the problem, such to allow for any constitutive and cohesive interface models to be used.


Fracture Crack Algorithms Meshless Discontinuities 



This work was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, Grant EP/G042586/1) and Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), both of which are gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering and Materials ScienceQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Engineering ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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