Characteristics of crack growth in brittle solids with the effects of material heterogeneity and multi-crack interaction

Luyu Wang, Zhen Yu Yin, Weizhong Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Despite the extensive research on crack propagation in brittle solids, numerous unexplored problems still necessitate in-depth study. In this work, we focus on numerical modeling of multi-crack growth, aiming to explore the effect of material heterogeneity and multi-crack interaction on this process. To do this, an improved singular-finite element method (singular-FEM) is proposed with incorporation of heterogeneity and crack interaction. An efficient algorithm is proposed for simulating multi-crack propagation and interaction. Stress singularity near crack tip is reproduced by the singular elements. The singular-FEM is convenient and cost-effective, as the zone far away from crack tips is directly discretized using linear elements, in contrast to the quadratic or transition elements utilized in traditional FEM. Next, the proposed method is validated through benchmark study. Numerical results demonstrate that the superiority of the singular-FEM, which combines the merits of low cost and high accuracy. Then, the mechanics of crack growth are explored in more complex scenarios, accounting for the effects of crack interaction, loading condition and heterogeneity on crack trajectory, stress field and energy release rate. The findings reveal that the combined effect of heterogeneity and crack interaction plays a critical role in the phenomenon of crack growth, and the proposed method is capable of effectively modeling the process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Crack interaction
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Material heterogeneity
  • Stress intensity factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mechanics of Materials


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