PFC: Present and Future of Crack Tracking Algorithms

Minisymposium organized by

The evolution of cracks in brittle or quasi-brittle materials undergoing complex loading conditions requires the satisfaction of physical criteria expressing the local attainment of the ultimate strength of the material. The mathematical description of the crack propagation is not easy, although recent formulations based on energetic criteria opened an interesting avenue for the creation of new algorithms. The key issue is represented by the difficulty to track the crack path, in particular when multiple loads are acting and the crack is expected to manifest unstable behaviors. Theoretical formulations can be taken as the basis of numerical algorithms where the accuracy of the solution can be monitored or controlled. The most popular numerical techniques discussed in the recent literature are based on finite element discretization, where fracture can be tackled in terms of explicit new surfaces, inserted between or crossing solid elements; and in terms of damage localized over a restricted portion surrounding the location of the crack. Boundary element techniques are also used with satisfactory results. Recent approaches may disregard the presence of a classical mesh, avoiding the complication of disconnecting volume elements, or may rely on multi-scale descriptions and on the coupling of different numerical techniques.

We would like to bring together researchers and scientists working on new theoretical approaches and numerical algorithms in order to have a wide overview of the present situation and possible future developments of numerical methods for crack tracking. New algorithms and new approaches are welcome, as well as improvement of well settled formulations.