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A simple and robust Abaqus implementation of the phase field fracture method

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Navidtehrani, Yousef 
Betegón, Covadonga 
Martínez-Pañeda, Emilio  ORCID logo


The phase field fracture method is attracting significant interest. Phase field approaches have enabled predicting - on arbitrary geometries and dimensions - complex fracture phenomena such as crack branching, coalescence, deflection and nucleation. In this work, we present a simple and robust implementation of the phase field fracture method in the commercial finite element package Abaqus. The implementation exploits the analogy between the phase field evolution law and the heat transfer equation, enabling the use of Abaqus' in-built features and circumventing the need for defining user elements. The framework is general, and is shown to accommodate different solution schemes (staggered and monolithic), as well as various constitutive choices for preventing damage under compression. The robustness and applicability of the numerical framework presented is demonstrated by addressing several 2D and 3D boundary value problems of particular interest. Focus is on the solution of paradigmatic case studies that are known to be particularly demanding from a convergence perspective. The results reveal that our phase field fracture implementation can be readily combined with other advanced computational features, such as contact, and deliver robust and precise solutions. The code developed can be downloaded from



cs.CE, cs.CE, cond-mat.mtrl-sci,

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Applications in Engineering Science (2021)

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Elsevier BV
EPSRC (via Imperial College London) (EP/R010161/1)