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Finite elements with embedded strong discontinuities for the modeling of failure in solids. (English) Zbl 1194.74431
Summary: This paper presents new finite elements that incorporate strong discontinuities with linear interpolations of the displacement jumps for the modeling of failure in solids. The cases of interest are characterized by a localized cohesive law along a propagating discontinuity (e.g. a crack), with this propagation occurring in a general finite element mesh without remeshing. Plane problems are considered in the infinitesimal deformation range. The new elements are constructed by enhancing the strains of existing finite elements (including general displacement based, mixed, assumed and enhanced strain elements) with a series of strain modes that depend on the proper enhanced parameters local to the element. These strain modes are designed by identifying the strain fields to be captured exactly, including the rigid body motions of the two parts of a splitting element for a fully softened discontinuity, and the relative stretching of these parts for a linear tangential sliding of the discontinuity. This procedure accounts for the discrete kinematics of the underlying finite element and assures the lack of stress locking in general quadrilateral elements for linearly separating discontinuities, that is, spurious transfers of stresses through the discontinuity are avoided. The equations for the enhanced parameters are constructed by imposing the local equilibrium between the stresses in the bulk of the element and the tractions driving the aforementioned cohesive law, with the proper equilibrium operators to account for the linear kinematics of the discontinuity. Given the locality of all these considerations, the enhanced parameters can be eliminated by their static condensation at the element level, resulting in an efficient implementation of the resulting methods and involving minor modifications of an existing finite element code. A series of numerical tests and more general representative numerical simulations are presented to illustrate the performance of the new elements.

74S05Finite element methods in solid mechanics
74R10Brittle fracture
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