Discontinuous Cell Method (DCM) for the simulation of cohesive fracture and fragmentation of continuous media

Gianluca Cusatis, Roozbeh Rezakhani*, Edward A. Schauffert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In this paper, the Discontinuous Cell Method (DCM) is formulated with the objective of simulating cohesive fracture propagation and fragmentation in homogeneous solids without issues relevant to excessive mesh deformation typical of available Finite Element formulations. DCM discretizes solids by using the Delaunay triangulation and its associated Voronoi tessellation giving rise to a system of discrete cells interacting through shared facets. For each Voronoi cell, the displacement field is approximated on the basis of rigid body kinematics, which is used to compute a strain vector at the centroid of the Voronoi facets. Such strain vector is demonstrated to be the projection of the strain tensor at that location. At the same point stress tractions are computed through vectorial constitutive equations derived on the basis of classical continuum tensorial theories. Results of analysis of a cantilever beam are used to perform convergence studies and comparison with classical finite element formulations in the elastic regime. Furthermore, cohesive fracture and fragmentation of homogeneous solids are studied under quasi-static and dynamic loading conditions. The mesh dependency problem, typically encountered upon adopting softening constitutive equations, is tackled through the crack band approach. This study demonstrates the capabilities of DCM by solving multiple benchmark problems relevant to cohesive crack propagation. The simulations show that DCM can handle effectively a wide range of problems from the simulation of a single propagating fracture to crack branching and fragmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Cohesive fracture
  • Delaunay triangulation
  • Discrete models
  • Finite elements
  • Fragmentation
  • Voronoi tessellation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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