On failure modelling in finite element analysis : material imperfections and element erosion

Abstract: This dissertation concerns failure modelling with material imperfections and element erosion in finite element analyses. The aim has been to improve the element erosion technique, which is simple to use and implement and also computationally inexpensive. The first part of the dissertation serves as an introduction to the topic and as a summary of the methodologies presented in the following part. The second part consists of seven appended papers. In paper A the standard element erosion technique is used for projectile penetration. In papers B and C a methodology that accounts for size effects is developed and applied to crack initiation in armour steel and tungsten carbide. A methodology to better predict the stress state at crack tips with coarse meshes is presented and applied to armour steel in paper D. Papers E and F concern the development of selective mass scaling which allows for larger time steps in explicit methods. Finally, in paper G the previously presented methodologies are used in combination and validated against experimental results on tungsten carbide. The computations show good agreement with the experimental results on failure initiation for both materials, while the computational results on the propagation of cracks show better agreement for the armour steel than for the tungsten carbide.