A quasi-algebraic multigrid approach to fracture problems based on extended finite elements

B. Hiriyur*, R. S. Tuminaro, H. Waisman, E. G. Boman, D. E. Keyes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The modeling of discontinuities arising from fracture of materials poses a number of significant computational challenges. The extended finite element method provides an attractive alternative to standard finite elements in that they do not require fine spatial resolution in the vicinity of discontinuities nor do they require repeated remeshing to properly address propagation of cracks. They do, however, give rise to linear systems requiring special care within an iterative solver method. An algebraic multigrid method is proposed that is suitable for the linear systems associated with modeling fracture via extended finite elements. The new method follows naturally from an energy minimizing algebraic multigrid framework. The key idea is the modification of the prolongator sparsity pattern to prevent interpolation across cracks. This is accomplished by accessing the standard levelset functions used during the discretization process. Numerical experiments illustrate that the resulting method converges in a fashion that is relatively insensitive to mesh resolution and to the number of cracks or their location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A603-A626
JournalSIAM Journal on Scientific Computing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Algebraic multigrid
  • Extended finite elements
  • Fracture
  • Iterative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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