Branched crack modelling with the Cracking Particle Method
Weilong Ai  1, *@  , Charles Augarde  1@  , Jon Trevelyan  1@  
1 : School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, Durham University
South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE -  United Kingdom
* : Corresponding author

Multiple crack simulation is of great importance in failure analysis since fracture in brittle materials in practice usually comprises multiple cracks. Traditional numerical methods like the extended finite element and the element free Galerkin methods meet dilemmas when solving this kind of problem, as the computational expense increases with the number of level set functions used for crack descriptions. The cracking particle method (CPM) developed by Rabczuk, by which crack patterns are simplified and discretized through a set of cracking segments, has shown to be a promising alternative. The branched crack problem, as a representative of multiple crack problems, is studied here to demonstrate the advantages of the CPM. Cracking particles can be split multiply due to the use of bilinear cracking lines and then the discontinuity at the intersection is fulfilled easily. An adaptivity strategy is adopted to control the size of cracking segments and the number of degrees of freedom. Stress intensity factors at the crack tips are calculated and show good agreement with previous results. 

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