Enriched finite elements and level sets for damage tolerance assessment of complex structures

Stéphane Bordas*, Brian Moran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


The extended finite element method (X-FEM) has recently emerged as an alternative to meshing/remeshing crack surfaces in computational fracture mechanics thanks to the concept of discontinuous and asymptotic partition of unity enrichment (PUM) of the standard finite element approximation spaces. Level set methods have been recently coupled with X-FEM to help track the crack geometry as it grows. However, little attention has been devoted to employing the X-FEM in real-world cases. This paper describes how X-FEM coupled with level set methods can be used to solve complex three-dimensional industrial fracture mechanics problems through combination of an object-oriented (C++) research code and a commercial solid modeling/finite element package (EDS-PLM/ I-DEAS®). The paper briefly describes how object-oriented programming shows its advantages to efficiently implement the proposed methodology. Due to enrichment, the latter method allows for multiple crack growth scenarios to be analyzed with a minimal amount of remeshing. Additionally, the whole component contributes to the stiffness during the whole crack growth simulation. The use of level set methods permits the seamless merging of cracks with boundaries. To show the flexibility of the method, the latter is applied to damage tolerance analysis of a complex aircraft component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1201
Number of pages26
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Damage tolerance assessment
  • Enriched/extended finite elements
  • Industrial problems
  • Object-oriented programming (C++)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Enriched finite elements and level sets for damage tolerance assessment of complex structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this