Adaptive floating node method for modelling cohesive fracture of composite materials

X. Lu*, B. Y. Chen, V. B.C. Tan, T. E. Tay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The cohesive element has been widely employed to model delamination and matrix cracking in composite materials. However, an extremely fine mesh along the potential crack path is required to achieve accurate predictions of stresses within the cohesive zone. A sufficient number of cohesive elements must be present within the cohesive zone ahead of the crack tip, resulting in very high computational cost and time for application to practical composite structures. To mitigate this problem, an adaptive floating node method (A-FNM) with potential to reduce model size and computational effort is proposed. An element with adaptive partitioning capabilities is designed such that it can be formulated as a master element, a refined element and a coarsened element, depending on the damage state in the progressive damage process. A relatively coarse overall mesh may be used initially, and by transforming the element configurations adaptively, the local refinement and coarsening schemes are applied in the analysis. The localized stress gradient ahead of the crack front within the refinement zone is captured by the refined elements. The refinement and coarsening operations are performed at the elemental level with fixed nodal connectivity, so that global successive remeshing in adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) techniques is avoided; this is the key difference between AMR and A-FNM. It is demonstrated that, without loss of accuracy, the present method simplifies the modelling procedure and reduces computational cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-261
Number of pages22
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • A. Adaptive modelling
  • B. Fracture
  • C. Finite element method
  • D. Floating node method


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