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Finite element analysis of dynamic crack propagation using remeshing technique

A.R. Shahani
*
, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, K.N.T. University of Technology, Pardis Street, Mollasadra Avenue, Vanak Square, P.O. Box 19395-1999, Tehran, Iran
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 29 April 2008
Accepted 21 June 2008
Available online 2 July 2008
Keywords:
Dynamic fracture toughness
Remeshing
Arrest
RDCB
a b s t r a c t
This paper presents a nite element analysis based on the remeshing technique to predict the dynamic
crack propagation and crack arrest in a brittle material, namely Araldite-B. The dynamic fracture tough-
ness criterion is used to form the crack tip equation of motion. Plane stress condition is invoked in the
present two-dimensional fracture analysis of the RDCB (rectangular double cantilever beam) specimens
and the unknown crack tip position, and velocity is computed during the analysis by the dynamic fracture
criterion. According to the new crack tip position, a remeshing algorithm has been used to simulate the
dynamic crack growth and arrest. The obtained results including kinetic energy and strain energy, crack
tip velocity, dynamic stress intensity factor during crack growth and also crack arrest length have been
presented. Comparison of the results with those cited in the literature has shown a good agreement.
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Dynamic fracture deals with fracture under conditions where
inertia forces must be included in the problem formulation. This
occurs either under dynamic loading or in the case of static loading
as a rapidly propagating crack runs through a structure. In this pa-
per, the latter one is investigated in the RDCB (rectangular double
cantilever beam) specimens.
The double cantilever beam specimen is one of the most com-
monly used test congurations for determining crack growth
speed and fracture toughness of materials. Some theoretical analy-
sis of the RDCB specimen, via either simple beam or shear beam
theories, can be found in previous literature [16]. The solutions
have been given based on the energy balance for rapid crack prop-
agation and arrest. The work implemented by Shahani and Forqani
[6] includes the beam theory considering shear deformation ef-
fects, and the obtained nal intricate equations of motion for the
case of dynamic analysis were simplied by eliminating the inertia
terms and were solved as a quasi-static state. The application of
beam theory to dynamic crack propagation is particularly attrac-
tive because it is one-dimensional analysis. Although the beam
analysis cannot predict the details of crack tip stresses or strains,
it does provide an accurate account of energy quantities which
form the basis of the fracture criterion.
Parallel to the analytical research, the nite element method
provides a powerful alternative of analyzing most real crack prop-
agation in specimen congurations. In general, analytic solutions
for the prediction problems of dynamic crack propagation are
rarely available. Therefore, numerical methods are necessary to ob-
tain solutions to predict these problems. Among the numerical
methods, nite element method is the most popular numerical
method used for the analysis and predictions of dynamic fracture,
and when it is employed accuracy of the results heavily depends on
the simulation method of crack growth. Consequently, a reliable
numerical analysis method for dynamic fracture is needed.
The earliest nite element methods for crack propagation use a
node decoupling technique with a simple nodal force release
mechanism [79]. As discussed by Kanninen [10], these early
methods generally produce inaccurate results, and are inappropri-
ate for modeling crack propagation. Node release technique has the
drawback of requiring a priori the knowledge of the path followed
by the crack, and also singular elements could not be employed
around the crack tip in this method.
Nishioka and Atluri [11] introduced a moving singular element
procedure for dynamic crack propagation analysis. In their method,
a special singular element that follows the moving crack tip is
used, and during the simulation of crack propagation only the con-
ventional elements immediately surrounding the singular element
are distorted. Dynamic fracture analysis of RDCB specimen using
the moving nite element method was carried out by Nishioka
and Atluri [12].
A version of the mixed EulerianLagrangian kinematics descrip-
tion (ELD) was developed by Koh and Haber [13] and Koh et al. [14].
In this method, a single mesh pattern changes continuously and
independently from the material motion to model the crack propa-
gation, and auxiliary regional mapping is used to relate the changes
of the nodal coordinates to the crack tip motion. A major disadvan-
tage of this methodis that the nal generalizedcoefcient matrixfor
the nite element equation results in a full-sized nonsymmetrical
0261-3069/$ - see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2008.06.049
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +98 21 84063221; fax: +98 21 88674748.
E-mail address: Shahani@Kntu.ac.ir (A.R. Shahani).
Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041
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j our nal homepage: www. el sevi er . com/ l ocat e/ mat des
matrix, and solving these equations greatly increases the required
time. Koh et al. [15] applied ELD approach in nite element method
to predict the dynamic fracture in RDCB specimens.
The element-free Galerkin (EFG) method [16,17] is another
technique which, based on the moving least-square interpolants,
aimed at the simulation of crack growth problems. It requires only
nodal data, and no element connectivity is needed. Imposition of
the geometrical boundary conditions by the EFG technique is more
complicated than for the FEM.
In elasticplastic materials, Beissel et al. [18] introduced an ele-
ment failure algorithm for crack growth in general direction. This
algorithm does not require remeshing technique, and is achieved
by tracking the path of the crack tip and failing the elements
crossed by the path such that they can no longer sustain deviatoric
or tensile volumetric stresses. Singular elements cannot be em-
ployed in this algorithm because the model has not been re-
meshed, and analysis is performed via the single and xed mesh
pattern during the entire process.
One of the unique features of any discrete fracture propagation
nite element code is its remeshing algorithm. Crack propagation
in elastic and elasticplastic materials can be analyzed via this
method. Also this technique is not restricted to the special
mode in fracture mechanics, and due to this ability crack propaga-
tion in problems which have no symmetry, neither in geometry nor
in loading conditions, can be simulated.
Another important consideration in any such remeshing algo-
rithm is the application of elements to adequately model the crack
tip singularity [19]. In principle, two remeshing approaches have
been reported in the literature. The rst is to remesh the entire
model in every step as advocated by Shephard et al. [20] and Sumi
[21]. The advantage of this approach is that well shaped elements
can usually be generated. However, its disadvantage is that a large
number of state variables must be transferred from the old to the
new mesh, particularly when an elasto-plastic material is involved.
The second approach employs a local remeshing technique where-
by only the region of elements within a certain distance of the
crack tip is modied. This approach has the advantage of requiring
only the transference of state variables from a small region which
is to be remeshed. However, the generated elements may not be as
well-shaped as in the rst approach since there tend to be greater
constraints on the placement of the new elements due to the exist-
ing mesh surrounding the region to be remeshed.
Some crack propagation analysis based on the remeshing tech-
nique can be found in the previous works. In the LEFM conditions,
the local approach was used to investigate the fatigue crack growth
by Wawrzynek and Ingraffea [22,23] and simulation of dynamic
crack propagation in an innite medium by Swenson and Ingraffea
[24]. Bittencourt et al. [25] presented an algorithm named quasi-
automatic simulation of stable crack propagation for two-dimen-
sional LEFM problems in order to predict crack trajectory that is
very similar to the work done by Swenson and Ingraffea [24] in
remeshing algorithm. The analysis in [25] was said to be quasi-
automatic only because the user still needs to provide a desired
crack length increment at the beginning of each simulation, and
this is for the sake of being a stable crack growth. Tradegard
et al. [26] employed a combination of entire remeshing and nodal
relaxation to study mode I stable crack propagation in an elastic
plastic material by ABAQUS software. Rethore et al. [27] employed
a stable numerical scheme for the analysis of dynamic crack
growth with remeshing but their study focused on the stability
subject of dynamic calculations. In principle, the aim of their work
is not to develop an efcient remeshing procedure. Dynamic frac-
ture mechanics has been used as a basis for their study, and the
crack growth speed has been calculated via the criterion based
on the energy release rate considering that the material toughness
is independent of the crack speed. Recently, Shahani and Seyyedian
[28] employed an entire remeshing approach in order to simulate
glass cutting with the impinging hot air jet which could be inter-
preted as a controlled crack growth due to thermal stresses caused
by the hot air jet.
In this paper, the attempt is made toward gaining a nite ele-
ment simulation based on the remeshing technique compatible
with the actual dynamic fracture process. In this regard, mode I dy-
namic crack propagation and arrest phenomena are investigated in
the RDCB specimens under xed displacement loading condition.
The nite element modeling is accomplished with the standard FE
code ANSYS 7.0. Since the dynamic crack growth is intrinsically
an unstable phenomenon, crack growth increment cannot be de-
ned by the user, and a dynamic fracture criterion should be em-
ployed to nd the crack tip velocity and crack extension every
time, automatically. In this study, dynamic fracture toughness cri-
terion is used to predict the crack tip velocity. The quarter point sin-
gular elements are used around the crack tip in order to model the
singularity. Since the crack is to propagate, a remeshing algorithm
is used in each crack extension step. For this to be achieved, ANSYS
Parametric Design Language, APDL, is employed. Owing to time-
dependent nature of the problem and inertia effects, nodal data
should be transferred from the old mesh to the new mesh in each
step of the remeshing. Finally, the problem is analyzed for two dif-
ferent crack tip bluntings to investigate its effects on crack arrest
length, crack arrest time, crack growth velocity and the quantity
of strain energy and kinetic energy during the crack advancement.
The predicted results showgood agreement with those obtained via
the experimental study and the other numerical techniques.
2. Dynamic crack propagation analysis
2.1. Dynamic stress intensity factor
In general, the crack tip stress intensity factor represents the ef-
fect of the applied loading, the geometrical conguration of the
body and the bulk material parameters in the crack tip region for
any motion of the crack tip. For a dynamically propagating crack
under a steady-state or under an unsteady-state condition, these
parameters depend on time, the crack length and the crack tip
velocity. For the model problem considered here, the instanta-
neous value of the crack tip stress intensity factor for an arbitrary
motion of the crack tip depends on crack motion only through the
instantaneous value of the crack tip speed, _ a, and time, t. Moreover,
this dependence is of separable form [29,30]:
K
d
I
t; _ a k
I
_ aK

I
t 1
where K
d
I
is the instantaneous dynamic stress intensity factor for
crack propagation, K

I
is the equilibrium stress intensity factor that
depends on the current length of the crack, the applied load, and the
history of crack extension, but not on the crack velocity. It has the
dimensions of a static stress intensity factor, but in general it is
not equal to the static stress intensity factor for a stationary crack
of the same length as the moving crack. k
I
_ a is a function of crack
speed, and can be approximated in the form:
k
I

_
a %
1 _ a=C
R
1 0:5_ a=C
R
2
or
k
I

_
a %
1
_
a=C
R

1
_
a=C
D
3
where
C
2
D

2l
q
1v
12v

plane strain
2l
q
1
1v

plane stress

4
A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041 1033
Here C
R
and C
D
are the Raleigh wave speed and the dilatational
wave speed, respectively. Rayleigh wave speed is a root of
equation
4a
S
a
D
1 a
2
S

2
0 5
where
a
2
D
1
_
a
C
D

2
6
a
2
S
1
_
a
C
S

2
7
where C
S
is the shear wave speed given by
C
2
S

l
q
8
in which l is the shear modulus and q is the density of the material.
The crack-velocity function k
I
is a universal function for all elas-
todynamically propagating cracks. When the crack is not propagat-
ing ( _ a 0), this function takes a unit value (k
I
(0) = 1). The function
k
I
_ a decreases monotonically with increasing crack velocity _ a
while k
I
reduces to zero for _ a C
R
. Since k
I
_ a is the decreasing
function as explained above, the stress intensity factor drops dras-
tically for a sudden increase of the crack velocity. The details of this
discussion can be found in [30].
2.2. Dynamic fracture toughness
During unstable crack propagation, the fracture toughness of
the material is introduced as dynamic fracture toughness, and is
denoted by K
d
IC
, which is not a constant value. The quantity K
d
IC
represents the resistance of the material to crack growth. The
magnitude of K
d
IC
in a special temperature is expected to depend
on the crack speed and on the properties of the material. All iner-
tial, plasticity and rate effects are lumped into the material prop-
erty K
d
IC
.
In general, the available experimental results for dynamic crack
propagation are very limited. Results of several dynamic fracture
experiments on materials by Kobayashi and Dally [31], Rosakis
et al. [32], Zehnder and Rosakis [33] for metals and by Paxton
and Lucas [34] for polymers indicate that the materials level of
resistance to crack advance may depend on the instantaneous
crack tip speed. These are typical of most of the data that have been
reported which suggest that K
d
IC
is roughly speed independent at
low crack speeds. But the most signicant feature of the speed-
dependency is the increasing sensitivity of dynamic fracture
toughness to crack tip speed with increasing speed.
Fig. 1 exhibits dynamic fracture toughness vs. crack tip speed
for Araldite-B polymer. In this investigation, the extrapolated data
of dynamic fracture toughness for the velocity greater than 340 m/s
are used in the analysis of fast fracture if needed.
Experimental data presented in [32], relating the dynamic frac-
ture toughness to the crack tip velocity, can be correlated by the
heuristic experimental relation suggested by Kanninen and Popelar
[35]
K
d
IC

K
IA
1
_ a
V
l

m
9
where K
IA
, V
l
and m are the material constants that must be deter-
mined empirically. These constants have a clear physical interpreta-
tion: V
l
corresponds to a limiting crack speed, K
IA
corresponds to the
nearly constant value in the low crack speed regime, while m is a
dimensionless shape factor.
2.3. Dynamic fracture criterion and crack tip equation of motion
In order to specify an acceptable crack tip equation of motion,
dynamic crack growth criterion is required. For crack growth pro-
cesses in materials which fail in a predominantly brittle manner, or
in which any inelastic crack tip zone is completely contained with-
in the surrounding elastic crack tip zone, the most common crack
growth criteria are the generalization of Grifths critical energy
release rate criterion and Irwins critical stress intensity factor cri-
terion. According to Irwins criterion, a crack must grow in such a
way that the crack tip dynamic stress intensity factor is always
equal to the dynamic fracture toughness of the material which
characterizes the resistance of the material to crack advance and
must be specied:
K
d
I
at;
_
at; t; load K
d
IC

_
a 10
where K
d
I
is the dynamic stress intensity factor, and as mentioned
earlier it depends on crack length, crack speed, time and applied
load, and K
d
IC
is the dynamic fracture toughness. In principle, K
d
I
may be determined by a pure elastodynamic analysis. In practice,
K
d
I
cannot generally be determined analytically. Thus, numerical
and optical techniques are necessary to interpret dynamic fracture
experiments.
Through the introduced equation of motion (10), crack tip posi-
tion and crack tip velocity could be found during the unstable frac-
ture process, and also crack arrest could be predicted by this
equation. According to the criterion given by (10), crack arrest oc-
curs when the stress intensity factor at the crack tip becomes smal-
ler than or equal to a critical value. This can be expressed as
K
I
6 K
d
IC
0 K
dyn
Ia
11
where K
dyn
Ia
denotes the dynamic crack arrest toughness.
3. Physical model for dynamic crack propagation
Fig. 2 depicts a RDCB specimen geometry used in experimental
study performed by Kalthoff et al. [36], and is employed in this
study. The dimensions of the specimens are as follows: length
L = 321 mm, initial crack length a
0
= 67.8 mm, beam height
h = 63.5 mm, pin diameter d = 25 mm, distance from beam end to
pin e = 16 mm, distance from crack plane to pin b = 20 mm and
thickness B = 10 mm. They were able to deduce the dynamic stress
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
0 100 200 300 400
velocity (m/s)
d
y
n
a
m
i
c

f
r
a
c
t
u
r
e

t
o
u
g
h
n
e
s
s

(
M
P
a
.
m
^
0
.
5
)
Kalthoff et al [36]
Extrapolated data
Fig. 1. dynamic fracture toughness vs. crack tip speed for Araldite-B.
1034 A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041
intensity factor for a running crack in the polymer, Araldite-B, by
using the method of shadow patterns or caustics.
In their experiments, different values of the crack initiation
stress intensity factor K
IQ
were obtained according to the degree
of blunting of the initial crack tip. This means that the cracks were
initiated from blunted notches at initiation stress intensity factors
K
IQ
which are larger than the fracture toughness K
IC
.
Consequently, crack growth is initiated from an articially
blunted initial crack tip so that the running crack, which propa-
gates as a sharp crack, is driven at higher speeds. But because
the load pin displacement does not change appreciably, the crack
driving force diminishes and crack arrest can occur.
In the experimental study [36], the RDCB specimens with K
IQ
values 2.32 and 1.76 MPa m
1/2
were identied as specimens 4
and 8, respectively. For convenience, the same identication is
used in the present numerical simulation. Plane stress condition
is postulated in the analysis because of the relatively thin nature
of the specimen, and also was assumed in the experimental study
[36]. The dimensions and material properties of the wedge-loaded
RDCB specimen used in the experimental study [36] and also in
this investigation are summarized in Table 1.
Araldite-B exhibits small differences between the dynamic and
static material properties. The dynamic material properties are
used in this study, and sometimes have been compared with the
results obtained with the static ones.
As shown in Fig. 2, the RDCB specimen has geometrical symme-
try, and by applying symmetrical loading with respect to the crack
plane the conditions of mode I crack growth could be preserved in
the problem. Two common types of loading in this specimen are
xed displacement and xed load on the pins shown in Fig. 2.
The former causes the crack growth to be stopped after a specied
time, because the load pin displacement does not change and con-
sequently crack driving force diminishes, while in the latter crack
propagation will be continued until the full rupture of specimen.
4. Finite element modeling procedure for dynamic crack
propagation
This section presents a nite element analysis for modeling dy-
namic fracture problems using the remeshing technique. Quarter-
point singular isoparametric elements are used for modeling the
singular eld near the crack tip. The procedure for simulation of
dynamic crack extension is outlined in the next two parts.
4.1. Singular eld near the crack tip
Because of the symmetry, only one half of the RDCB specimen is
modeled by FEM. A nite element mesh layout of model and also
the mesh pattern generated around crack tip are illustrated in
Fig. 3. The FE standard code ANSYS 7.0 has been employed for
modeling the problem. Quadratic isoparametric triangular ele-
ments with two degrees of freedom for each node are employed
for the discretization of the model (plane 2, ANSYS 7.0). These ele-
ments are capable of constructing singular elements, which are
used for modeling the familiar square root singularity r
1=2
at
the crack tip in elastic fracture mechanics. This can be easily done
by shifting the mid-side nodes of the six-node element to the quar-
ter-point positions [37].
Another consideration for using the quadratic six-node triangu-
lar element is that singular form of these elements leads to far bet-
ter results (stress intensity factors) than rectangular elements for
elastic fracture [37].
4.2. Remeshing algorithm
Due to the fact that fast fracture is intrinsically a dynamic anal-
ysis and also rupture phenomenon causes the geometry of the
model to be time dependent, ANSYS Parametric Design Language,
APDL, is employed for creating the fully automatic program to sim-
ulate the problem without any user interaction through the
process.
Fig. 2. Geometry of RDCB specimen used by Kalthoff et al. [36].
Table 1
Elastic properties of material Araldite-B [36]
Static elastic modulus, E
s
3380 MN/m
2
Dynamic elastic modulus, E
D
3660 MN/m
2
Static Poissons ratio, m
S
0.33
Dynamic Poissons ratio, m
D
0.39
Density, q 1172 kg/m
3
Dynamic bar wave speed, C
0

E=q

1767 m/s
Fig. 3. Finite element model of the problem: (a) the entire model of half-RDCB; (b) the meshes generated around the crack tip.
A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041 1035
Fig. 4 shows the Flow-chart of the prepared APDL code of the
problem based on the remeshing technique. Transient analysis of
the problem is carried out via the Newmark scheme by choosing
time integration parameters d = 0.5 and b = 0.25. According to the
algorithm, after initial geometrical and physical modeling of the
problem, mesh generation of the model is accomplished via the
combination of free and manual methods in the software, and then
the dynamic analysis of the problem is performed. Finally, at the
end of every time increment Dt, stress intensity factor is computed
and the crack tip velocity is predicted by the dynamic fracture cri-
terion which includes the material property K
d
IC
: In order to nd
new crack tip position, the magnitude of _ aDt is computed, where
_ a is the current crack tip velocity. At this step, remeshing is accom-
plished according to the new crack tip position. In fact, remeshing
starts from a rosette of singular elements around the crack tip and
a new mesh generation with this start point is done. Subsequently,
the necessary data are transferred from the previous mesh to the
new mesh, and is interpolated to the nodal values of the present
mesh. Since the problem is xed in time during the remeshing step
and only the mesh is being changed, the shape functions are used
to interpolate the nodal data. The algorithm is repeated through
the mentioned steps during the analysis.
5. Results and discussion
In this part, some numerical examples are considered. All the
specimens are of the same geometry and material except in the de-
gree of crack tip blunting, which have been used in the experimen-
tal study [36], numerical analysis such as moving nite element
method by Nishioka and Atluri [12] and moving nite element
Setting the geometrical and input material properties data of the problem
Start
Discretization of the model by Plane2 elements
Applying the load and boundary conditions
Structural analysis of the dynamic problem
Computing the Stress Intensity Factor, K
I
K
I
> K
ID
(0)
Remeshing is accomplished to the base of the new crack tip position
Interpolation of the previous mesh nodal data for finding the corresponding
data of the present mesh
STOP
An arrest
phenomenon
has happened.
Yes
No
Computation of dynamic stress intensity factor and then finding the crack
tip velocity and amount of movement using the dynamic fracture criterion
Setting the dynamic parameters of transient analysis
Fig. 4. Flow-chart of the FEM algorithm of the problem.
1036 A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041
0
0.4
0.8
1.2
1.6
2
0 100 200 300 400 500
Time (micro second)
d
y
n
a
m
i
c

S
I
F

(
M
P
a
.
m
^
0
.
5
)
present study with dynamic properties
experimental by Kalthoff et al [36]
Nishioka & Atluri [12]
Koh et al [15]
Kobayashi [39]
Fig. 5. Variation of dynamic stress intensity factor vs. time for RDCB-4.
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
60 100 140 180 220
Crack length (mm)
d
y
n
a
m
i
c

S
I
F

(
M
P
a
.
m
^
0
.
5
)
Present study with dynamic properties
Experimental by Kalthoff et al [36]
Gehlen et al [38] Without torsional spring
Gehlen et al [38] With torsional spring
Koh et al [15]
Fig. 6. Variation of dynamic stress intensity factor vs. crack length for RDCB-4.
0
0.4
0.8
1.2
1.6
2
0 100 200 300 400 500
Time (micro second)
d
y
n
a
m
i
c

S
I
F

(
M
P
a
.
m
^
0
.
5
)
Experimental Results by Kaltoff et al [36]
Present study with dynamic properties
Present study with static properties
Fig. 7. Dynamic stress intensity factor vs. time for RDCB-4 based on the dynamic
and static material properties.
0
100
200
300
400
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
Time (micro second)
v
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
m
/
s
)
Present study with dynamic properties
Experimental by Kalthoff et al [36]
Koh et al [15]
Gehlen et al [38] without torsional spring
Nishioka & Atluri [12]
Fig. 9. History of crack tip velocity for RDCB-4.
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
time (micro second)
k
i
n
e
t
i
c

&

s
t
r
a
i
n

e
n
e
r
g
y

(
J
o
u
l
e
)
Strain energy with dynamic properties, Present study
Strain energy with static properties, Present study
Kinetic energy with static properties, Present study
Kinetic energy with dynamic properties, Present study
Strain energy by Gehlen et al [38]
Kinetic energy by Gehlen et al [38]
Kinetic energy by Nishioka & Atluri [12]
Strain energy by Nishioka & Atluri [12]
Fig. 10. History of energy quantities for RDCB-4.
60
100
140
180
220
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
time (micro second)
c
r
a
c
k

l
e
n
g
t
h

(
m
m
)

Present by dynamic properties
Experimental by Kalthoff et al [36]
Koh et al [15]
Nishioka & Atluri [12]
Fig. 8. History of crack extension for RDCB-4.
A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041 1037
method based on the ELD by Koh et al. [15]. The results presented
in [12] and [15] were obtained based on the static and dynamic
material properties, respectively. Gehlen et al. [38] investigated
the rapid crack growth in these specimens, and obtained equations
of motion by theory implementation based on the one-dimen-
sional assumption. The nal achieved equations by their approach
were solved via the nite difference method. In the following, the
obtained results of this study are compared with those obtained by
the above researchers showing good agreement.
5.1. Results for RDCB-4 specimen
This specimen has a degree of crack tip blunting correspond-
ing to the initiation stress intensity factor K
Q
= 2.32 MPa m
1/2
.
Fig. 5 shows the time variations of the dynamic stress intensity
factor for RDCB-4 specimen. The results have been compared
with the previous numerical results cited in the literature, Nish-
ioka and Atluri [12], Koh et al. [15] and Kobayashi [39] as well
as the experimental results of Kalthoff et al. [36]. In principle,
the dynamic stress intensity factor predicted by this study
agrees well with the experimental results particularly in the
range of time between 70230 ls and 370 ls to the arrest time.
It is also seen that the dynamic stress intensity factor obtained
in this study, Nishioka and Atluri [12] and Kobayashi [39], shows
nearly the same trend in behavior where they have a maximum
value at the start of crack growth, and thereafter decreasing and
again reaching to a local maximum value at the instant of about
290 ls. The behavior of dynamic stress intensity factor curve at
the early stage could not be conrmed by the experimental re-
sults due to lack of experimental results in this interval. In addi-
tion, the arrest time predicted by this study shows a very good
agreement with the experimental study, and has a value about
504 ls. This value for the work done by Koh et al. [15], Nishioka
and Atluri [12] and Kobayashi [39] is 438 ls, 528 ls and 497 ls,
respectively.
Fig. 6 shows the variations of the dynamic stress intensity factor
with respect to crack length for this specimen. It should be noted
that the crack length is measured from the pin location. It is seen
Fig. 11. Variation of mesh layout during dynamic crack propagation in RDCB-4 specimen.
1038 A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041
that the best estimation for the crack arrest with reference to the
experimental study corresponds to this study.
Fig. 7 shows the results for the dynamic stress intensity factor
vs. time obtained based on the dynamic and static material proper-
ties separately. Although the results are nearly similar the predic-
tions using the static elastic properties compare generally less
favorably than those based upon the dynamic properties in this
specimen.
The crack length history and crack tip velocity history are
shown in Figs. 8 and 9, respectively. According to Fig. 9, the behav-
ior of crack tip velocity curve is similar to the dynamic stress inten-
sity factor curve, and has a local maximum at a time about 290 ls.
It is seen that prior to arrest the crack velocity decreases with an
abrupt slope from the local maximum value. It is also seen from
Fig. 9 that the predicted results via the different methods agree
well with each other with the exception of Gehlen et al.s method
[38], which shows the maximum difference at the arrest time. In
general, the crack tip velocity predicted by this study and the
method of [12] is close to each other.
Energy quantities such as kinetic energy and strain energy dur-
ing dynamic fracture process with the xed displacement loading
condition are depicted in Fig. 10. The gure shows the results ob-
tained by Nishioka and Atluri [12] which is in good agreement with
those of this study. Fig. 10 also contains the kinetic energy and
strain energy values obtained based on the dynamic material prop-
erties by Gehlen et al. formulation without using torsional spring
in the equations [38]. As shown, their results are in the higher level
of magnitude and time process among the methods. As shown in
Fig. 10, the value of kinetic energy is zero at the beginning of prop-
agation because the model is in the static conditions on the thresh-
old of crack propagation. The magnitude of kinetic energy starts to
increase parallel to the crack advancement and reaches a maxi-
mum value at the time about 140 ls, and thereafter begins to de-
crease in the remainder path until arrival at the zero value at the
arrest time. This is the time that the model again reaches a static
condition because of crack arrest. Owing to loading condition in
this problem, the maximum value of strain energy occurs on the
threshold of crack advancement, and thereafter decreases through-
out the analysis until the arrest time where its magnitude is about
0.0287 joule at this instant for RDCB-4. For this specimen, whether
using dynamic or using static material properties the maximum ki-
netic energy is 26.4% of the initial strain energy which does not
indicate that the event occurs statically. Decrease of both types
of energy, however, is because of energy release due to the crack
advancing.
Fig. 11 shows the mesh details and the variation of mesh layout
during the dynamic fracture simulation of RDCB-4 specimen. It is
observed that because of using remeshing technique, the nite ele-
ment analysis of the problem is accomplished with the well-
shaped elements, and the optimum mesh is generated each time
during the crack propagation. Moreover, the singular elements
are always at the crack tip position.
5.2. Results for RDCB-8 specimen
This specimen has a degree of crack tip bluntness that corre-
sponds to the initiation stress intensity factor K
Q
= 1.76 MPa m
1/2
.
This specimen is analyzed based on the dynamic material proper-
ties only. Fig. 12 shows the variation of dynamic stress intensity
factor vs. crack length obtained from the present method along
with the existent results for this specimen, which includes the
experimental results [36] and numerical results of [15]. The curve
obtained for this case shows a trend similar to that presented for
RDCB-4, and comprises a maximum value at the start of crack
growth. Despite the prediction of Koh et al. [15], the predicted
crack arrest length via the present method is nearly identical with
that measured in the experimental study [36], and is about
170 mm.
Figs. 13 and 14 show the crack length and energy history,
respectively. It is seen that there is a good agreement between
crack length histories. Also, the arrest time predicted by this study
and [15] is identical, and has a value equal to 369 ls.
The time duration obtained by the experimental study [36] is
larger with respect to the value computed by this investigation.
According to Fig. 14, the maximum value of strain energy for
RDCB-8 is 0.16 joule and corresponds to the magnitude of critical
applying load (xed displacement) for initial crack advancement.
This quantity was about 0.3 joule for RDCB-4 specimen. But the
amount of strain energy at the arrest time is 0.0276 joule which
is nearly equal to the similar value of RDCB-4 at the arrest time.
For this specimen, the maximum kinetic energy is 21.6% of the ini-
tial strain energy which is 4.8% less than the rst studied type of
specimen, and does not indicate that the event occurs statically.
Fig. 15 shows the crack tip velocity vs. crack length for RDCB-8
which represents the comparison of the present results with the
experimental results.
0
0.4
0.8
1.2
1.6
60 90 120 150 180
crack length (mm)
d
y
n
a
m
i
c

S
I
F

(
M
P
a
.
m
^
0
.
5
)
Present study with dynamic properties
Experimental results by Kalthoff et al [36]
Koh et al [15]
Fig. 12. Variation of dynamic stress intensity factor vs. crack length for RDCB-8.
60
90
120
150
180
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
time (micro second)
c
r
a
c
k

l
e
n
g
t
h

(
m
m
)

Present study with dynamic properties
Experimental results by Kalthoff et al [36]
Koh et al [15]
Fig. 13. History of crack extension for RDCB-8.
A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041 1039
5.3. Crack velocitycrack length relation
A further comparison could be implemented for more assurance
of the predicted crack arrest length using the hypothesis presented
by Hahn et al. [40] and Shmuely [41]. Their theoretical calculations
predict a unique relation between the length of the crack at arrest
and the maximum constant crack velocity which depends only on
the geometry of the specimen but not on the toughness of the
material. Both theoretical curves in a properly normalized form
are shown in Fig. 16. The present results together with the exper-
imental results of Kalthoff et al. [36] for both RDCB-4 and RDCB-8
specimens are summarized in Table 2 in order to compare them
with the predicted results by Shmuely [41] and Hahn et al. [40]
arisen from Fig. 16. Here, c
0
is the bar wave speed in the material.
This study yields to the values of 0.1726 and 0.1613 for
Vmax
c
0
in
the RDCB-4 and RDCB-8 specimens, respectively, the crack arrest
lengths of which are presented in the table. The predicted crack ar-
rest lengths corresponding to the same values of
Vmax
c
0
have been ex-
tracted from Fig. 16 and presented in other rows of the same table.
It is seen that a relatively good agreement exists between the re-
sults. Nevertheless, the experimental results [36] assure the pre-
ciseness of the results of this investigation over those of Hahn
et al. [40] and Shmuely [41].
6. Conclusion
The problem of dynamic crack propagation in RDCB specimen,
made of a brittle material, has been analyzed. A nite element
analysis based on the remeshing technique has been used to sim-
ulate the crack growth during the fracture process. The remeshing
technique has been preferred among the traditional methods, and
this is due to the fact that when it combines with the singular ele-
ments it could model the crack tip singularity and conserve it
through the crack advancement. Moreover, a dynamic fracture cri-
terion, which includes the dynamic fracture toughness, has been
employed in order to extract the crack growth velocity at each time
step. In general, fast fracture mechanics analysis deals with the
parameters such as dynamic stress intensity factor, history of crack
propagation and velocity, energy quantities and crack arrest
length. The aforementioned parameters in this study have shown
good agreement with the experimental results as compared with
the other numerical results published in the literature. The follow-
ing conclusions could be drawn from the above-mentioned unsta-
ble crack growth analysis:
With decreasing crack tip blunting, the initial stored strain
energy in the specimen decreases causing the crack arrest length
and time to decrease.
The ratio of the maximum kinetic energy to the initial strain
energy in the specimen is considerable, and this implies that
the dynamic effects are dominant in the unstable crack propaga-
tion phenomenon and should be taken into account in the
analysis.
Table 2
Summarized results of different predictions for RDCB-4 and RDCB-8 specimens
RDCB-4 RDCB-8
_ amax;cons=c
0
aarrest=a
0
_ amax;cons=c
0
aarrest=a
0
Present study 0.1726 3.038 0.1613 2.51917
Predicted by Shmuely [41] 0.1726 2.9516 0.1613 2.6926
Predicted by Hahn et al. [40] 0.1726 2.7716 0.1613 2.5726
Experimental by Kalthoff et al.
[36]
0.16978 2.9522 0.155 2.51917
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
67 87 107 127 147 167
crack length (mm)
v
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
m
/
s
)
Present study with dynamic properties
Experimental results by Kalthoff et al [36]
Fig. 15. Variation of crack tip velocity vs. crack length for RDCB-8.
0
0.05
0.1
0.15
0.2
0 2 4
relative crack length, a(arrest)/a0
r
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

c
r
a
c
k

v
e
l
o
c
i
t
y
,

(
V
m
a
x
/
c
0
)
Predicted by
Shmuely [41]
Predicted by Hahn
et al [40]
1 3
Fig. 16. Relation between maximum constant velocity and crack length at arrest.
0
0.04
0.08
0.12
0.16
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400
time (micro second)
s
t
r
a
i
n

&

k
i
n
e
t
i
c

e
n
e
r
g
y

(
j
o
u
l
e
)
strain energy with dynamic properties, Present study
kinetic energy with dynamic properties, Present study
Fig. 14. Variation of energy quantities vs. time for RDCB-8.
1040 A.R. Shahani, M.R. Amini Fasakhodi / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 10321041
The size of blunting at the crack tip inuences the level of crack
growth velocity, the magnitude of crack arrest length and also
the arrest time in the xed-displacement loading condition.
The strain energy related to the arrest point for both specimens
analyzed here, i.e., RDCB-4 and RDCB-8, is nearly identical, and
this implies that the arrest occurs when the strain energy
reaches a pronounced value related to the value of crack arrest
toughness.
The accuracy of this investigation is more noticeable when it
concerns with the crack arrest length or arrest time predicted
in the specimens.
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