A crack tip tracking algorithm for cohesive interface element analysis of fatigue delamination propagation in composite materials

Luiz F. Kawashita*, Stephen R. Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)
365 Downloads (Pure)


A novel approach is proposed for the use of cohesive elements in the analysis of delamination propagation in composite materials under high-cycle fatigue loading. The method is applicable to delamination propagation within the Paris-law regime and is suitable for the analysis of three-dimensional structures typical of aerospace applications. The major advantages of the proposed formulation are its complete independence of the cohesive zone length - which is a geometry-dependent parameter - and its relative insensitivity to mesh refinement. This is only possible via the introduction of three nonlocal algorithms, which provide (i) automated three-dimensional tracking of delamination fronts, (ii) an estimation of direction of crack propagation and (iii) accurate and mesh-insensitive integration of strain energy release rate. All calculations are updated at every increment of an explicit time-integration finite element solution, which models the envelopes of forces and displacements with an assumption of underlying constant cyclic loading. The method was implemented as a user-defined subroutine in the commercial finite element software LS-Dyna and supports the analysis of complex three-dimensional models. Results are presented for benchmark cases such as specimens with central cut plies and centrally-loaded circular plates. Accurate predictions of delamination growth rates are observed for different mesh topologies in agreement with the Paris-laws of the material. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Translated title of the contributionAn advanced model for crack tip tracking in cohesive zone interface elements for fatigue
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2898-2913
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number21
Early online date2 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2012

Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC


  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Cohesive
  • Specimens
  • Prediction
  • Plies
  • Fibre
  • Numerical-simulation
  • Zone model
  • Progressive delamination
  • Length
  • Element
  • Delamination
  • Composite


Dive into the research topics of 'A crack tip tracking algorithm for cohesive interface element analysis of fatigue delamination propagation in composite materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this