An analytical crack-tip element for layered elastic structures

B. D. Davidson, Hurang Hu, R. A. Schapery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


A previously developed linear elastic crack-tip element analysis is reviewed briefly, and then extended and refined for practical applications. The element provides analytical expressions for total energy release rate and mode mix in terms of plate theory force and moment resultants near the crack tip. The element may be used for cracks within or between homogeneous isotropic or orthotropic layers, as well as for delamination of laminated composites. Classical plate theory is used to derive the equations for total energy release rate and mode mix; a “mode mix parameter,” Ω, as obtained from a separate continuum analysis is necessary to complete the mode mix decomposition. This’ parameter depends upon the elastic and geometrical properties of the materials above and below the crack plane, but not on the loading. A relatively simple finite element technique for determining the mode-mix parameter is presented and convergence in terms of mesh refinement is studied. Specific values of Ω are also presented for a large number of cases. For those interfaces where a linear elastic solution predicts an oscillatory singularity, an approach is described which allows a unique, physically meaningful value of fracture mode ratio to be defined. This approach is shown to provide predictions of crack growth between dissimilar homogeneous materials that are equivalent to those obtained from the oscillatory field solution. Application of the approach to delamination in fiber-reinforced laminated composites is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-305
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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