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Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151


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Review

A survey of the extended finite element


Yazid Abdelaziz *, Abdelmadjid Hamouine
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Bechar, Bechar 08000, Algeria

Received 31 October 2007; accepted 2 November 2007


Available online 20 December 2007

Abstract

This article presents an overview and recent progress of the extended finite element method X-FEM in the analysis of crack growth
modeling. It summarizes the important milestones achieved by the finite element community in the arena of computational fracture
mechanics. The methodology of X-FEM, different from that of the classical finite element method, presents a very particular interest
since it does not force the discontinuities to be in conformity with the borders. It makes possible the accurate solution of engineering
problems in complex domains, which may be practically impossible to solve using the classical finite element method.
Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Extended finite element; Level sets method; Fracture mechanics

Contents

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1142
2. X-FEM: concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1142
2.1. Basic review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1142
2.2. Partition of unity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1143
2.3. Crack tip enrichment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1143
2.4. Heaviside function. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1143
2.5. Multiple branched cracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1144
2.6. Criterion selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1144
2.7. Numerical integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1144
2.8. Level set method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
3. Robustness and improvements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
3.1. Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
3.2. Stress intensity calculation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
3.3. Stress analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
4. X-FEM: extension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
4.1. Space–time X-FEM formulation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
4.2. Dynamic cracks growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1146
4.3. Elastic–plastic fracture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1146
4.4. Intrinsic X-FEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1146
4.5. Superposing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1146
5. X-FEM implantation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1146
6. X-FEM: divers applications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1147

*
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: abdelaziz970@yahoo.fr (Y. Abdelaziz).

0045-7949/$ - see front matter Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.compstruc.2007.11.001
1142 Y. Abdelaziz, A. Hamouine / Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151

6.1. Holes and material interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1147


6.2. Contact and friction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1147
6.3. Thin film and shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1147
6.4. Cohesive cracks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1147
6.5. Strong and weak discontinuities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1147
6.6. Orthotropic media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1148
6.7. Microstructure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1148
7. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1148
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1148

1. Introduction problems can be solved with minimal re-meshing. Dolbow


et al. [25,26] and Moes et al. [27] introduced a much more ele-
The finite element method is widely used in industrial gant technique by adapting an enrichment that includes the
design applications, and many different software packages asymptotic near-tip field and a Heaviside function H(x). The
based on FEM techniques have been developed. It has Heaviside jump function is a discontinuous function across
proved to be very well suited for the study of fracture the crack surface and is constant on each side of the crack:
mechanics. However, modeling the propagation of a crack +1 on one side and 1 on the other. Its use represents the
through a finite element mesh turns out to be difficult main improvement of this technique over that presented in
because of the modification of the mesh topology. More- [17], where a mapping algorithm introduced by Fleming
over, the crack tip singularity needs to be accurately repre- et al. [14] was used. Daux et al. [28] proposed a junction func-
sented by the approximation [1]. To accurately model tion concept to account for multiple branched cracks. For
discontinuities with finite element methods, it is necessary branched cracks, They used the near-tip asymptotic fields
to conform the discretization to the discontinuity. This [17], the discontinuous function H(x) for a single crack
becomes a major difficulty when treating problems with [27], and a new discontinuous function J(x) to account the
evolving discontinuities where the mesh must be regener- branching. This technique was employed for modeling com-
ated at each step. Re-projecting the solution on the plicated geometries such as multiple branched cracks, voids
updated mesh is not only a costly operation but also it and cracks emanating from holes. Dolbow et al. [29] studied
may have a troublesome impact on the quality of results. the modeling of cracks growth in plates in the Mind-
Over the past few decades, several approaches have been lin–Reissner framework. The form of the enriched approxi-
proposed to model crack problems: method based on quar- mation is similar to that in [27] with different sets of near-tip
ter-point finite element [2], enriched finite element method functions for the rotations and transverse displacement.
[3,4], the boundary collocation method [5], the integral Sukumar et al. [30] presented an implementation of the
equation method [6], the body force method [7], the bound- X-FEM method into three-dimensional crack modeling.
ary elements method [8], the dislocation method [9–11], They demonstrated the accuracy of this technique for
mesh-free methods such as the element-free Galerkin three-dimensional static cracks: a discontinuous function
method [12–14]. To avoid the re-meshing step in crack was used to model the interior of the crack surface, and
modeling, a divers techniques were proposed: the incorpo- functions from the two-dimensional asymptotic crack tip
ration of a discontinuous mode on an element level [15], a displacement fields were used for the crack front enrich-
moving mesh technique [16], and an enrichment technique ment. Belytschko et al. [31] generalized the methodology
based on a partition-of-unity X-FEM [17]. for representing discontinuities that are independent of the
The essential idea in the extended finite element method, mesh. The work unifies and extends the modeling of func-
which is closely related to the generalized finite element tions with arbitrary discontinuities and discontinuous deriv-
method [18–21], both belonging to the class of partition of atives in finite elements first proposed in Refs. [17,27,28,30].
unity methods, is to add discontinuous enrichment func- Stolarska et al. [32] used the extended finite element
tions to the finite element approximation using the partition method in conjunction with the level set method [33] to
of unity [22,23]. An overview of the early developments of treat crack growth in two dimensions. They presented an
the X-FEM method has been given by Karihaloo and Xiao algorithm that couples the LSM with the X-FEM to solve
[24]. Since that overview many new extensions been made. the elasto-static fatigue crack problem. The LSM is used to
represent the crack location, including the location of crack
2. X-FEM: concepts tips. The X-FEM is used to compute the stress and dis-
placement fields necessary for determining the rate of crack
2.1. Basic review growth. Non-planar 3D cracks growth was carried out
using X-FEM/LSM [34,35]. The X-FEM method was also
The X-FEM method was originally proposed by Bely- used in concert with a particular level set method, the fast
tschko and Black [17]. They presented a method for enrich- marching method (FMM) [36] to model the growth of sin-
ing finite element approximations so that crack growth gle [37] and multiple [38] planar 3D cracks.
Y. Abdelaziz, A. Hamouine / Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151 1143

Belytschko et al. [39] presented a simplified method for 2.2. Partition of unity
modeling solid objects by structured finite elements. The
method use implicit functions to describe the outside sur- A partition of unity (PU) is a parading where a domain
face of the object and any inner surfaces, such as material is devised into overlapping sub-domains XI, each of which
interfaces, sliding surfaces and cracks. Mariani and Perego is associated with a function /I(x)that is non-zero only in
[40] introduced a higher order displacement discontinuity XI and has the following property
in a standard finite element model. They utilized the cubic
X
N
displacement discontinuity, able to reproduce the typical /ðxÞ ¼ 1 in X ð1Þ
cusp-like shape of the process zone at the tip of a cohesive I¼1
crack, to study the mode I crack growth in a wedge-split-
ting test and the mixed I–II mode crack growth in an asym- The partition of unity method gives a theoretical frame-
metric three-point bending test. Bellec and Dolbow [41] work to new techniques such as extended finite elements or
exposed a note on enrichment functions for modeling crack hp-clouds, generalized finite elements.
nucleation. They focused on the particular case where the
extent of the crack approaches the support size of the nodal 2.3. Crack tip enrichment
shape functions. Under these circumstances, the asymp-
totic ‘branch’ functions for each tip may extend beyond The idea of X-FEM consists of an enrichment of the
the length of the crack, resulting in a non-conforming finite element near the crack tip with functions whose span
approximation. The new approximation corrects this defi- includes the two-dimensional plane strain asymptotic crack
ciency with the aid of a ‘ramp function’: They modified tip fields [17]
the near-tip functions through multiplication with a set of       
‘ramp functions’ that enforce the appropriate level of 4 pffiffi h pffiffi h pffiffi h
fF I ðr; hÞgi¼1 ¼ r cos ; r sin ; r sin sin h;
continuity. 2 2 2
  
Ventura et al. [42] developed a vector level set method pffiffi h
for describing the growth of cracks for two-dimensional r cos sin h ð2Þ
2
problems. In the method, the crack geometry is described
by a three-tuple for cracks in two dimensions. The level The approximation takes the form of an extrinsic enrich-
set function is updated by simple geometric formulas. By ment and can be written as
contrast, in standard level set methods the level set is !
X
n X
NeðIÞ
updated by the solution of a hyperbolic partial differential h
u ðxÞ ¼ N I ðxÞ uI þ ajI F j ðr; hÞ ð3Þ
equation. Budyn et al. [43] used the vector level set method I¼1 J ¼1
developed by Ventura [42] for modeling the evolution of !
X
n X
NeðIÞ
multiple cracks in the framework of the extended finite ele- h
m ðxÞ ¼ N I ðxÞ VI þ bjI F j ðr; hÞ ð4Þ
ment method. Both homogeneous and inhomogeneous I¼1 J ¼1
materials were considered.
Dolbow and Devan [44] developed a formulation of an where (r,h) is a polar co-ordinate system with origin at the
enhanced assumed strain method with discontinuous crack tip NI(x) are the standard finite element shape func-
enrichment of the displacement field that exhibits lock- tions. The enrichment coefficients ajI and bjI are associated
ing-free response in the incompressible limit. Ventura with nodes and ne(I) is the number of coefficients for node I:
et al. [45] proposed a new finite element method for accu- it is chosen to be four for all nodes around the crack tip
rately modeling the displacement and stress fields produced and zero at all other nodes.
by a dislocation. In their approaches, the local strain field
generated by the dislocation is included in the finite element 2.4. Heaviside function
basis and no projection procedures are involved.
Larsson and Fagerstrom [46] presented a framework for After intruding the Heaviside jump function, the
fracture modeling based on the material forces concept approximation will be changed to the following formula
with X-FEM-kinematics. The work established a theoreti- [27]:
cal and computational framework for fracture mechanics !
on the basis of the inverse deformation problem with an X X X X
4
1
uh ¼ ui /i þ bj /j H ðxÞ þ /k cl1
k F l ðxÞ
applied discontinuous deformation separated from the con- i2I j2J k2K1 l¼1
tinuous deformation using the extended finite element !
method, or perhaps rather the partitions of unity concept X X
4
2
þ /k cl2
k F l ðxÞ ð5Þ
for crack propagation. Moes et al. [47] introduced a strat- k2K2 l¼1
egy to impose Dirichlet boundary conditions on stationary
or evolving surfaces while preserving the optimal rate of In which J is the set enriched by the crack tip functions
convergence. The key aspect is the construction of the cor- and K is the set enriched by the jump function (Fig. 1). bj
rect Lagrange multiplier space on the boundary. and clk are vectors of additional nodal degrees of freedom.
1144 Y. Abdelaziz, A. Hamouine / Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151

Fig. 1. A strategy of enrichment [27].

Fig. 3. Area criterion for selection of H(x) enriched nodes [25].


K1 and K2 are the sets of nodes to be enriched for the first
and second crack tip, respectively. H(x) is Heaviside func-
tion and F l1 ðxÞ and F l2 (x) are near-tip crack functions. Aab
w
rab ¼ ð6Þ
Aw
Abe
rbe ¼ w ð7Þ
2.5. Multiple branched cracks Aw
If either of the above ratios are below a specified toler-
In the case of two crossing cracks, it is not proper to ance, the node is no longer enriched with H. In practice,
consider them as independent; they should be considered a tolerance of 104 is used (Fig. 3).
to be a main crack and two secondary cracks that join
the main crack [28] (Fig. 2). 2.7. Numerical integration

For elements cut by the crack and enriched with the


jump function H(x), Moes et al. [27] make a modification
2.6. Criterion selection
to the element quadrature routines for the assembly of
the weak form. As the crack is allowed to be arbitrarily ori-
The criterion for selection of H enriched nodes, as given
ented in an element, standard Gauss quadrature may not
in [25], relies on the following considerations. For a certain
adequately integrate the discontinuous field. The numerical
node, the area of its support denoted by Aw is computed.
integration of cut elements is generally performed by parti-
The part of its support’s area above, Aab w and below, Aw
be
tioning them into standard subtriangles (Fig. 4). Hence
the crack, are computed. Then, the following ratios are
every time the crack propagates, one uses a new set of sub-
calculated:
triangles as well and a new Gauss points set.
Ventura [48] studied the elimination of quadrature sub-
cells for discontinuous functions in the extended finite ele-
ment method. In the work, he was shown how standard
Gauss quadrature could be used in the elements containing
the discontinuity without splitting the elements into sub-
cells or introducing any additional approximation. This is
developed with reference to displacement jumps in one,
two and three dimensions and to material discontinuities
in one and two dimensions and in the hypothesis of a linear
Fig. 2. Example of enrichment for a branched crack [28]. discontinuity surface crossing completely an element.

Fig. 4. Partitioning into standard subtriangles [25].


Y. Abdelaziz, A. Hamouine / Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151 1145

2.8. Level set method asymptotic values. Nagashima et al. [55] exposed the stress
intensity factor analysis of the bi-material interface crack
The level set method is a numerical scheme developed by problem. They used asymptotic solution of a homogeneous
Osher and Sethian [33] to model the motion of interfaces. (not interface) crack to enrich the crack tip nodes, and
The principle of the method is to represent an interface adopted a fourth order Gauss integration for a 4-node iso-
by the zero of a function, called the level set function, parametric element with enriched nodes. Xiao and Kariha-
and to update this function with Hamilton–Jacobi equa- loo [56] enhanced the accuracy of the local fields and
tions knowing the speed of the interface in the direction determined the SIF directly without extra post-processing.
normal to this interface. They enriched the nodes of the elements surrounding the
A moving interface c(t)  R2 can be formulated as the crack tip with the leading as well as higher order terms of
level set curve of a function /(x,t) the asymptotic crack tip fields using the PUM. Liu et al.
[57] extend this technique to direct evaluation of mixed
cðtÞ ¼ fx 2 R2 : /ðx; tÞ ¼ 0g ð8Þ
mode SIFs in homogeneous and bi-materials. Menouillard
The motion of c(t) can then be expressed as an evolution et al. [58] presented a general method for the calculation of
equation for / by taking the time derivative of / mixed mode intensity factors for graded materials.
(x(t),t) = 0:
3.3. Stress analysis
/t þ F kr/k ¼ 0
ð9Þ
/ðx; t ¼ 0Þ ¼ given Legrain et al. [59] studied the stress analysis around crack
where F is the speed of the front at x 2 c(t) in the direction tips in finite strain problems. They showed how to solve
normal to the interface. The initial conditions on / are typ- non-linear fracture mechanics problems with the extended
ically defined as the signed distance to the interface finite method, particularly for rubber-like materials. Béchet
et al. [60] improved the robustness of the X-FEM method
/ðx; tÞ ¼  min kx  xk ð10Þ for stress analysis around cracks by introducing a different
xuðtÞ
enrichment scheme; developing new integration quadrature
for asymptotic functions and implementing a precondition-
3. Robustness and improvements ing scheme adapted to the enriched functions.
Xiao and Karihaloo [61] improved the accuracy of
3.1. Convergence X-FEM crack tip fields using higher order quadrature
and statically admissible stress recovery. The quadrature
An advantage of the X-FEM method is to obtain more technique utilizes guarantees convergence of regular nodal
accurate numerical results than classical finite element one. values and coefficients corresponding to enrichment
However, the rate of convergence is not optimal with functions, except of coefficients with very small values.
respect to the mesh parameter ‘‘h”. This rate is lower than Dumstorff and Meschke [62] studied numerically the
it is expected with classical finite element method for a performance of the different crack propagation criteria in
smooth problem as pointed out in Stazi et al. [49]. To the framework of X-FEM based structural materials: The
obtain the optimal accuracy, some methods have been pro- two local criteria include an averaged stress criterion [63]
posed such as X-FEM with a fixed enrichment area, high and the maximum circumferential stress criterion based
order X-FEM and the construction of blending elements. on the linear elastic fracture mechanics [64]. The two global
Laborde et al. [50] studied the capabilities of the criteria include a global tracking criterion [65] and an
extended finite element method to achieve accurate compu- energy based X-FEM formulation recently proposed in [66].
tations in non-smooth situations such as crack problems.
They proposed some improvements of the X-FEM method 4. X-FEM: extension
to obtain the optimal accuracy. Chahine et al. [51] gave a
note of the convergence result for a variant of the X- 4.1. Space–time X-FEM formulation
FEM method on cracked domains using a cut-off function
to localize the singular enrichment area. Chessa and Belytschko [67] proposed an approach to
treat discontinuities in space–time FE. They consider a
3.2. Stress intensity calculation space discontinuity that is moving in space–time FE using
an enriched approximation in space. In [68], the interest is
In Several works, e.g., [17,27,28], the stress intensity fac- on the modeling of space and time discontinuities and the
tors are computed at the tip of a crack in 2D bodies using approximation will be enriched in space as well as in time.
domain forms of the interaction integrals [52]. Sukumar Chessa and Belytschko [69] presented a locally enriched
et al. [30] used domain integral methods to evaluate SIFs space–time finite element method for solving hyperbolic
along the 3D crack front [53]. Duarte et al. [54] extracted problems with discontinuities. They examined how the
the SIFs by a least squares fit method by minimizing the enriched space–time formulation of [67], in which disconti-
errors among the stresses calculated numerically and their nuities are explicitly tracked with enrichment and level sets,
1146 Y. Abdelaziz, A. Hamouine / Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151

can be combined with standard finite element formulations one shape function per node, and these functions are able
for hyperbolic equations. to represent known characteristics of the solution such as
discontinuities, singularities, etc.
4.2. Dynamic cracks growth
4.5. Superposing
Chen et al. [70] and, more recently, Belytschko [71] pre-
sented a new enrichment technique to avoid the difficulties Fish [81] has proposed the concept of superposing a
encountered with the original X-FEM in time-dependent cracked mesh on a continuous mesh in the s-method. In
problems. They introduced a methodology for treating the field of X-FEM method, Sang-Ho et al. [82] presented
dynamic crack growth by the extended finite element a combination of the extended finite element method and
method. The method was developed for switching from a the mesh superposition method (s-version FEM). He
continuum to a discrete discontinuity where the governing modeled the near-tip field by superimposing quarter-point
partial deferential equation loses hyperbolicity. Réthoré elements on an overlaid mesh while the rest of the disconti-
et al. [72] proposed an energy-conserving scheme for nuity was implicitly described by a step function. Xiao and
dynamic crack growth using the extended finite element Karihaloo [83] proposed an implementation of the hybrid
method. The work proposed a generalization of the X- crack element (HCE) on a general finite element mesh and
FEM to model dynamic fracture and time-dependent prob- in combination with the extended finite element method.
lems in a general sense, and it gave a proof of the stability of The incorporation of the HCE into commercial FE pack-
the numerical scheme in the linear case. Zi et al. [73] exposed ages was detailed and validated. Furthermore, it was shown
a method for modeling arbitrary growth of dynamic cracks. how to couple the HCE with the extended/generalized finite
In this way, the extended finite element method was coupled element method (X-FEM).
with the level set method. Svahn et al. [74] proposed a dis-
crete crack modeling in a new X-FEM format with emphasis 5. X-FEM implantation
on dynamic response. The discontinuous approximation
was accomplished by usage of basis functions of very limited The extended finite element method can be implemented
support; only non-zero in the elements containing the crack. within a finite element code with relatively small modifica-
tions: variable number of degrees of freedom per node; mesh
4.3. Elastic–plastic fracture geometry interaction (a procedure to detect elements inter-
secting with the geometry of the discontinuities); enriched
Shamloo et al. [75] employed the X-FEM in elasto-plas- stiffness matrices; numerical integration. Sukumar and Pré-
tic behavior of material based on the cap plasticity model. vost [84] described the implementation of the X-FEM for
The double-surface plasticity model was applied based on a the modeling of crack discontinuities within Dynaflow
failure surface and an elliptical yield cap, which closes the [85], a standard finite element package. Huang et al. [86]
open space between the failure surface and hydrostatic focused their attention on the application of the X-FEM
axis. Elguedj et al. [76] utilized the well-known Hutchin- to crack problems in isotropic and bi-material media. Nisto
son–Rice–Rosengren (HRR) fields [77,78] to represent the et al. [87] proposed a numerical implantation in an explicit
singularities in elastic–plastic fracture mechanics. This code for treating dynamic crack propagation. The explicit
analysis is done in the context of confined plasticity, and dynamic FEM code DynELA [88] developed in the LGP
shall be used to predict fatigue crack growth. Prabel in Tarbes using an object-oriented framework was used to
et al. [79] demonstrated that the modelization of a propa- support the implementation of the X-FEM as a new module
gating crack in a dynamic elastic–plastic media can be done called DynaCrack. Bordas et al. [89] proposed an extended
using X-FEM linear functions approximation. The pro- finite element library. The program structure has been
posed idea is to update the level set functions on a regular designed to meet all natural requirements for modularity,
grid that is different from the structural mesh. By this extensibility, and robustness. Bordas et al. [90] described
method a very simple and efficient finite difference scheme how X-FEM coupled with level set methods could be used
can be directly used for level set propagation simulation. to solve complex three-dimensional industrial fracture
mechanics problems through combination of an object-ori-
4.4. Intrinsic X-FEM ented (C++) research code and a commercial solid model-
ing/finite element package (EDS-PLM/I-DEAS).
Fries and Belytschko [80] proposed an intrinsic extended Although the literature widely reports the ease of
finite element method for treating arbitrary discontinuities. implantation of such enrichment schemes, practice shows
Unlike the standard extended FE method, no additional that they are not easily incorporated into existing finite ele-
unknowns are introduced at the nodes whose supports ment codes. Noteworthy advances in this direction are pre-
are crossed by discontinuities. The method constructs an sented in [91]. It is worthwhile to note that X-FEM was
approximation space consisting of mesh based, enriched first applied successfully to damage tolerance assessment
moving least squares (MLS) functions near discontinuities of complex industrial structures in [92]. This work was sub-
and standard FE shape functions elsewhere. There is only sequently followed by investigations along similar lines by
Y. Abdelaziz, A. Hamouine / Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151 1147

Wyrat et al. [93–96]. Today, the X-FEM is being used in 6.3. Thin film and shell
industry, and suitable very effective a posteriori error indi-
cation were recently devised by Bordas et al. [97,98]. Liang et al. [108] utilized the extended finite element
method to evolve complex crack patterns in a brittle thin
6. X-FEM: divers applications film susceptible to subcritical cracking. Huang et al. [109]
applied this technique to compute the steady-state energy
The X-FEM method has obtained so promising results release rate of channeling cracks in thin films. Pedro
that some authors have immediately foreseen the opportuni- et al. [110] exposed a methodology for non-linear analysis
ties of applying X-FEM to many kinds of problems in which of shells with arbitrary evolving cracks.
discontinuities and moving boundaries have to be modeled.
6.4. Cohesive cracks
6.1. Holes and material interfaces
Various crack tip enrichment functions have been sug-
Sukumar et al. [99] proposed a methodology to modeled gested; a simple linear ‘‘ramp” function was proposed in
arbitrary holes and material interfaces without meshing the [111] and modified in [112] for triangular elements. Recently,
internal boundaries. The numerical method couples the the representation of discontinuities using X-FEM-kinemat-
level set method [33] to the extended finite element method ics has been re-formulated within the concept of material
[27]; the level set method was used for representing the loca- forces [46].
tion of holes and inclusions, and in addition, the level set Wells and Sluys [63] used the jump function as an
was used to develop the local enrichments for material inter- enrichment function for the whole cohesive crack; hence
faces to model inclusions. Sukumar et al. [100] proposed a the cohesive crack tip touches the element boundary. Moes
partition of unity enrichment technique for bi-material and Belytschko [113] used the jump function for the part of
interface cracks. This work has extended the capabilities the cohesive crack not adjacent to its tip, and a branch
of the extended finite element method to the analysis of function adjacent to the tip. Zi and Belytschko [111]
cracks that lie at the interface of two elastically homoge- enriched all cracked linear 3-node or quadratic 6-node tri-
neous isotropic materials. Hettich and Ramm [101] studied angular elements including the elements containing the
the interface material failure modeled by the X-FEM and crack tip by the sign function. Alfaiate et al. [114] embed-
LSM. They presented a detailed geometric modeling of ded displacement jumps that do not need to be homoge-
multi-phase materials, as well as at a local mechanical mod- neous within each finite element. Mariani and Perego [40]
eling of material interfaces and interfacial failure. introduced in a standard finite element model a cubic dis-
placement discontinuity, to reproduce the typical cusp-like
6.2. Contact and friction shape of the process zone at the tip of a cohesive crack.
Remmers et al. [115] studied the possibility of defining
Dolbow et al. [102] demonstrated how to enforce non-lin- cohesive segments that can arise at arbitrary locations
ear constitutive laws on arbitrary interfaces. They studied and in arbitrary directions and thus allow for the resolution
fracture in 2D crack growth under three different interfacial of complex crack patterns including crack nucleation at
constitutive laws on the crack faces: perfect contact and uni- multiple locations, followed by growth and coalescence.
lateral contact with or without friction. The iterative scheme Xiao et al. [116] exposed an incremental-secant modulus
implemented in the LATIN method (nonlinear-computa- iteration scheme for the simulation of cracking process in
tional-structural-mechanics) [103] was applied to resolve quasi-brittle materials described by cohesive crack models
the non-linear boundary value problem. Khoei and Nik- whose softening law is composed of linear segments. Mes-
bakht [104,105] presented an enriched finite element algo- chke and Dusmstor [66] proposed a variational format of
rithm for numerical computation of contact friction the X-FEM for propagation of cohesionless and cohesive
problems. The aim of the study is to present a model for sim- cracks in brittle and quasi-brittle solids was proposed.
ulation of frictional contact problem using the extended Comi et al. [117] proposed an integrated strategy for the
finite element method based on the penalty approach. Vitali simulation of damage development and crack propagation
and Benson [106] exposed an extended finite element in concrete structures. The strategy combines a non-local
method for contact in multi-material arbitrary Lagrang- continuum damage approach to an extended finite element
ian–Eulerian (MMALE) formulations. They demonstrated cohesive crack methodology.
that the results of this technique are better than those
obtained with the mixture theories and agree well with the 6.5. Strong and weak discontinuities
Lagrangian solution. Ribeaucourt et al. [107] proposed a
new fatigue frictional contact crack propagation model with Hansbo and Hansbo [118] presented an interesting
the coupled X-FEM/LATIN method. The aim is to model method for modeling arbitrary strong and weak disconti-
2D fatigue cracks submitted to cyclic multi-axial non-pro- nuities, including an a-priori error analysis. The method
portional loadings inducing complex contact sequences offers many interesting possibilities. In [119], a comment
along the crack faces (opening, contact, sliding and ticking). about this work was presented. It showed that the
1148 Y. Abdelaziz, A. Hamouine / Computers and Structures 86 (2008) 1141–1151

kinematic decomposition in their method is equivalent to tational fracture tool to study complex failure mechanisms
the one in the extended finite element method (X-FEM) in materials. The X-FEM is a numerical method to model
by Moes et al. [27] and Belytschko and Black [17]. internal (or external) boundaries such as holes, inclusions,
Legay et al. [120] described a method for constructing or cracks, without requiring the mesh to conform to these
strong and weak arbitrary discontinuities within spectral boundaries. It is based on a standard Galerkin procedure,
finite elements. A key aspect of the implementation of this and uses the concept of partition of unity to accommodate
method is the treatment of the blending elements adjacent the internal boundaries in the discrete model.
to the local partition of unity. He found that a partition The advantage of the method is that the element topol-
constructed from spectral functions one order lower than ogy need not conform to the surfaces of the cracks. With
the continuous approximation is optimal and no special this methodology, different to the conventional finite ele-
treatment is needed for higher order elements. Oliver et al. ment method, discretization of the domain with a mesh
[121] presented a comparative study on finite elements for adapted to the geometry of the discontinuity is not required.
capturing strong discontinuities by means of elemental (E- The standard finite element method is used as the building
FEM) or nodal enrichments (X-FEM). Based on the same block in the X-FEM; hence much of the theoretical and
constitutive model (continuum damage) and linear elements numerical developments in FEM can be readily extended
(triangles and tetrahedra), both enrichments have been and applied. Moreover, X-FEM coupled with LSM makes
implemented in the same finite element non-linear code. possible the accurate solution of engineering problems in
complex domains, which may be practically impossible to
6.6. Orthotropic media solve using the standard finite element method.

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