Frictional slip plane growth by localization detection and the extended finite element method (XFEM)

Scott E. Sanborn, Jean H. Prévost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This paper is concerned with developing a numerical tool for detecting instabilities in elasto-plastic solids (with an emphasis on soils) and inserting a discontinuity at these instabilities allowing the boundary value problem to proceed beyond these instabilities. This consists of implementing an algorithm for detection of strong discontinuities within a finite element (FE) framework. These discontinuities are then inserted into the FE problem through the use of a displacement field enrichment technique called the extended finite element method (XFEM). The newly formed discontinuities are governed by a Mohr-Coulomb frictional law that is enforced by a penalty method. This implementation within an FE framework is then tested on a compressive soil block and a soil slope where the discontinuity is inserted and grown according to the localization detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1278-1298
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 10 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • General Materials Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials


  • Frictional soil
  • Penalty method
  • Slip plane
  • Strong discontinuity
  • XFEM


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