A spectral method for three-dimensional elastodynamic fracture problems

Philippe H. Geubelle, James R. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a numerical formulation for three-dimensional elastodynamic problems of fracture on planar cracks and faults. Stress and displacement components are given a spectral representation as finite Fourier series in space coordinates parallel to the fracture plane. The formulation is based on an exact representation, involving a convolution integral for each Fourier mode, of the elastodynamic relation existing between the time-dependent Fourier coefficients for the tractions acting on the fracture plane and for the resulting displacement discontinuities. A wide range of constitutive models can be used to relate the local value of the strength on the fracture plane with the displacement and velocity history. Efficiency of the code is achieved by using an explicit time integration scheme and by computing the conversion between the spatial and spectral distributions through a FFT algorithm. The method is particularly suited to implementation on massively parallel computers; a CM-5 was used in this work. The stability and precision of the formulation are discussed for tensile (mode 1) situations in a detailed modal analysis, and numerical results are compared with existing three-dimensional elastodynamic solutions. The adequacy of the method to investigate various three-dimensional dynamic fracture problems involving non-propagating and propagating tensile cracks is illustrated, including crack growth along a plane of heterogeneous fracture toughness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1791-1824
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A spectral method for three-dimensional elastodynamic fracture problems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this