Isogeometric analysis of phase-field models for dynamic brittle and ductile fracture
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To date, efforts to model fracture and crack propagation have focused on two broad approaches: discrete and continuum damage descriptions. The discrete approach incorporates a discontinuity into the displacement field that must be tracked and updated. Examples of this approach include XFEM, element deletion, and cohesive zone models. The continuum damage, or smeared crack, approach incorporates a damage parameter into the model that controls the strength of the material. An advantage of this approach is that it does not require interface tracking since the damage parameter varies continuously over the domain. An alternative approach is to use a phase-field to describe crack propagation. In the phase-field approach to modeling fracture the problem is reformulated in terms of a coupled system of partial differential equations. A continuous scalar-valued phase-field is introduced into the model to indicate whether the material is in the unfractured or fractured ''phase''. The evolution of the phase-field is governed by a partial differential equation that includes a driving force that is a function of the strain energy of the body in question. This leads to a coupling between the momentum equation and the phase-field equation. The phase-field model also includes a length scale parameter that controls the width of the smooth approximation to the discrete crack. This allows discrete cracks to be modeled down to any desired length scale. Thus, this approach incorporates the strengths of both the discrete and continuum damage models, i.e., accurate modeling of individual cracks with no interface tracking. The research presented in this dissertation focuses on developing phase-field models for dynamic fracture. A general formulation in terms of the usual balance laws supplemented by a microforce balance law governing the evolution of the phase-field is derived. From this formulation, small-strain brittle and large-deformation ductile models are then derived. Additionally, a fourth-order theory for the phase-field approximation of the crack path is postulated. Convergence and approximation results are obtained for the proposed theories. In this work, isogeometric analysis, and particularly T-splines, plays an important role by providing a smooth basis that allows local refinement. Several numerical simulations have been performed to evaluate the proposed theories. These results show that phase-field models are a powerful tool for predicting fracture.