Fracture mechanics using a 3D composite element

B G Falzon, D Hitchings, T Besant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The formulation of a 3D composite element and its use in a mixed-mode fracture mechanics example is presented. This element, like a conventional 3D finite element, has three degrees of freedom per node although, like a plate element, the strains are defined in the local directions of the mid-plane surface. The stress-strain property matrix of this element was modified to decouple the stresses in the local mid-plane and the strains normal to this plane thus preventing the element from being too stiff in bending. A main advantage of this formulation is the ability to model a laminate with a single 3D element. The motivation behind this work was to improve the computational efficiency associated with the calculation of strain energy release rates in laminated structures. A comparison of mixed-mode results using different elements of an in-house finite element package are presented. Good agreement was achieved between the results obtained using the new element and coventional higher-order elements

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalComposite Structures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ceramics and Composites


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