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Large-scale simulation of pneumatic and hydraulic fracture with a phase-field approach



Krause R.


Kopanicakova A.


Mueller R. A.



One of the main challenges -if not the main challenge at all- in computational fracture mechanics is to predict and track crack paths and fragmentation patterns. In fact, besides the high demands on the modeling side, the complicated structure and non-regular behavior of cracks requires highly sophisticated techniques for representing the cracks in the simulation (i.e. mesh refinement and discretization techniques).

It is the goal of this project to address this challenge by developing a new theoretical and methodological framework for fracture mechanics. On the modeling side, we will exploit  phase-field models as a novel approaches for the representation of crack interfaces. On the side of the discretisation methods, we will be able to make use of new technologies such as Isogeometric Analysis. We will also use special techniques for resloving the cracks accurately, i.e. so called  lightweight adaptivity. In addition to the new phase-field based approach for fracture we will also extend our new framework in order to deal with contact and frictional effects along the larger interior crack interfaces.

This project builds on complimentary expertise in engineering, modeling, computational science, and high performance computing in order to establish non-conventional finite element methods for large-scale simulations of variationally and thermodynamically consistent multi-physics phase-field fracture models undergoing finite deformations. The resulting framework will be designed in a flexible way which will allow its application also beyond fracturing, thereby on the long run possibly serving as the basis for a new class of modeling and simulation tools.

Additional information

Start date
End date
51 Months
Funding sources
Swiss National Science Foundation / Project Funding / Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences (Division II)