Achieving pervasive fracture and fragmentation in three-dimensions: an unstructuring-based approach

Daniel W. Spring, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


There are few methods capable of capturing the full spectrum of pervasive fracture behavior in three-dimensions. Throughout pervasive fracture simulations, many cracks initiate, propagate, branch and coalesce simultaneously. Because of the cohesive element method framework, this behavior can be captured in a regularized manner. However, since the cohesive element method is only able to propagate cracks along element facets, a poorly designed discretization of the problem domain may introduce artifacts into the simulated results. To reduce the influence of the discretization, geometrically and constitutively unstructured means can be used. In this paper, we present and investigate the use of three-dimensional nodal perturbation to introduce geometric randomness into a finite element mesh. We also discuss the use of statistical methods for introducing randomness in heterogeneous constitutive relations. The geometrically unstructured method of nodal perturbation is then combined with a random heterogeneous constitutive relation in three numerical examples. The examples are chosen in order to represent some of the significant influencing factors on pervasive fracture and fragmentation; including surface features, loading conditions, and material gradation. Finally, some concluding remarks and potential extensions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-136
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanics of Materials


  • Cohesive elements
  • Extrinsic PPR model
  • Fragmentation
  • Nodal perturbation
  • Pervasive fracture
  • Weibull distribution


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