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Published February 6, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Eigenfracture: An Eigendeformation Approach to Variational Fracture


We propose an approximation scheme for a variational theory of brittle fracture. In this scheme, the energy functional is approximated by a family of functionals depending on a small parameter and on two fields: the displacement field and an eigendeformation field that describes the fractures that occur in the body. Specifically, the eigendeformations allow the displacement field to develop jumps that cost no local elastic energy. However, this local relaxation requires the expenditure of a certain amount of fracture energy. We provide a construction, based on the consideration of ε-neighborhoods of the support of the eigendeformation field, for calculating the right amount of fracture energy associated with the eigendeformation field. We prove the Γ-convergence of the eigendeformation functional sequence, and of finite element approximations of the eigendeformation functionals, to the Griffith-type energy functional introduced in Francfort and Marigo [J. Mech. Phys. Solids, 46 (1998), pp. 1319–1342]. This type of convergence ensures the convergence of eigendeformation solutions, and of finite element approximations thereof, to brittle-fracture solutions. Numerical examples concerned with quasi-static mixed-mode crack propagation illustrate the versatility and robustness of the approach and its ability to predict crack-growth patterns in brittle solids.

Additional Information

© 2009 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Received by the editors January 5, 2008; accepted for publication (in revised form) October 21, 2008; published electronically February 6, 2009. We thank M. Negri and C. Larsen for stimulating discussions on approximation schemes for fracture problems. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Department of Energy through Caltech's ASC/ASAP Center for Simulating the Dynamic Response of Materials. F.F. gratefully acknowledges the support of the Italian Fulbright Commission and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023