Applications of phase field fracture in modelling hydrogen assisted failures

Philip K. Kristensen, Christian F. Niordson, Emilio Martínez-Pañeda*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    42 Downloads (Pure)


    The phase field fracture method has emerged as a promising computational tool for modelling a variety of problems including, since recently, hydrogen embrittlement and stress corrosion cracking. In this work, we demonstrate the potential of phase field-based multi-physics models in transforming the engineering assessment and design of structural components in hydrogen-containing environments. First, we present a theoretical and numerical framework coupling deformation, diffusion and fracture, which accounts for inertia effects. Several constitutive choices are considered for the crack density function, including choices with and without an elastic phase in the damage response. The material toughness is defined as a function of the hydrogen content using an atomistically-informed hydrogen degradation law. The model is numerically implemented in 2D and 3D using the finite element method. The resulting computational framework is used to address a number of case studies of particular engineering interest. These are intended to showcase the model capabilities in: (i) capturing complex fracture phenomena, such as dynamic crack branching or void-crack interactions, (ii) simulating standardised tests for critical components, such as bolts, and (iii) enabling simulation-based paradigms such as Virtual Testing or Digital Twins by coupling model predictions with inspection data of large-scale engineering components. The evolution of defects under in-service conditions can be predicted, up to the ultimate failure. By reproducing the precise geometry of the defects, as opposed to re-characterising them as sharp cracks, phase field modelling enables more realistic and effective structural integrity assessments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102837
    JournalTheoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Phase field fracture
    • Hydrogen embrittlement
    • Fracture
    • Virtual testing
    • Finite element analysis


    Dive into the research topics of 'Applications of phase field fracture in modelling hydrogen assisted failures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this