The Discontinuity-Enriched Finite Element Method

Alejandro M. Aragón*, Angelo Simone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
189 Downloads (Pure)


We introduce a new methodology for modeling problems with both weak and strong discontinuities independently of the finite element discretization. At variance with the eXtended/Generalized Finite Element Method (X/GFEM), the new method, named the Discontinuity-Enriched Finite Element Method (DE-FEM), adds enriched degrees of freedom only to nodes created at the intersection between a discontinuity and edges of elements in the mesh. Although general, the method is demonstrated in the context of fracture mechanics, and its versatility is illustrated with a set of traction-free and cohesive crack examples. We show that DE-FEM recovers the same rate of convergence as the standard FEM with matching meshes, and we also compare the new approach to X/GFEM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1589-1613
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cohesive cracks
  • Fracture mechanics
  • GFEM
  • Strong discontinuities
  • XFEM


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