When a crack appears in a part, it’s bad news. The crack could propagate and lead to part failure. Now, the whole thing needs to be inspected and/or replaced.
Engineers are tasked to fight the susceptibility of cracks. When cracks do inevitably form, engineers need to understand what has to be done to ensure the crack doesn’t lead to a part failure. These tasks are carried out using engineering simulation.
However, assessing these cracks can take a long time because making a mesh to simulate crack propagation can take days — even weeks.
The longer engineers wait for a working mesh, the less time they have to iterate, replace or fix their part based on the simulation results.
Recently, ANSYS Mechanical introduced the unstructured mesh method (UMM). This method will help engineers mesh their crack propagation simulation in minutes. This method will help to speed up the development of stronger parts.
The Challenges of Simulation Crack Propagation
Traditionally, simulating crack propagation means using hexahedral (hex) and wedge elements to capture the geometry of the crack and allowing the solver to run.
Ideally, the mesh would only involve hex elements and the solver would progress the crack through the mesh. The reality is that geometry is never that simple, and the crack’s path will not want to travel in the same direction as the mesh.
Engineers can simplify the crack’s geometry until they can capture its behavior with only hex elements. However, this leads to a loss of fidelity in the simulation.
Alternatively, engineers can use UMM. The method reduces meshing time by automatically generating an all-tetrahedral (tet) mesh at the crack’s front.