Validation of a finite element toolbox for studying flaw interation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Structural integrity assessment often requires the interaction of multiple closely-spaced cracks or flaws in a structure to be considered. Although many procedures for structural integrity assessment include rules for determining the significance of flaw interaction, and for re-characterising interacting flaws, these rules can be difficult to validate in a fracture mechanics framework. int_defects is an open-source MATLAB toolbox which uses the Abaqus finite element suite to perform large-scale parametric studies in cracked-body analysis. It is designed to allow developers of assessment codes to check the accuracy of simplified interaction criteria under a wide range of conditions, e.g. for different interacting flaw geometries, material models and loading cases. int_defects can help analysts perform parametric studies to determine linear elastic crack tip stress field parameters, elastic-plastic parameters and plastic limit loads for simple three-dimensional cracked bodies relevant to assessment codes. This article focusses on the validation of int_defects using existing fracture mechanics results.
Through a set of validation examples, int_defects is shown to produce accurate results for a very wide range of cases in both linear and non-linear cracked-body analysis. Nevertheless, it is emphasised that users of this software should be conscious of the inherent limitations of LEFM and EPFM theory when applied to real fracture processes, and effects such as constraint loss should be considered when formulating interaction criteria.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ASME 2020 Pressure Vessels & Piping Conference
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2020


  • Structural integrity
  • Finite element analysis
  • Interacting flaws
  • Parametric analysis


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