A new fracture analysis tool for simulation of 3D nonplanar growth has been developed by combining a surface integral representation of an arbitrarily shaped nonplanar crack with a finite element model of the uncracked domain. The formulations are coupled through the need to satisfy boundary conditions at the interface of the two models where numerical strategies have been adopted which have effectively decoupled the meshing requirements. As a result, a surface integral model of a crack can be superimposed onto a localized region of a complicated finite element mesh, without impacting design requirements. The crack is then grown automatically through the fixed finite element mesh, using a crack mesher that can sense changing contours and interfaces. This paper focuses on the utilization of this technology to predict fatigue life of real parts.

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