Implementation of a cohesive zone model into the open source finite element software ParaFEM

Athanasios G Tsamos, Lee Margetts, Andrey P Jivkov

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    Cohesive elements have proven to be an excellent approach in computational fracture mechanics. Nevertheless, massively parallel computations are required in order to capture damage patterns and evolution meticulously in Carbon Fibre Reinforced Composites (CFRCs). Commercial packages do not exhibit satisfactory scalability in massively parallel computers. Thus, it is essential to implement cohesive elements in suitable codes for large scale simulations. The steps that need to be carried out in order to implement a Cohesive Zone Model (CZM) into the open source finite element (FE) package: ParaFEM ( are presented. These steps are: (1) a study on the CZM existing in ABAQUS and its key parameters, (2) the generation of a fortran ABAQUS User Element subroutine (UEL) of that particular CZM, (3) the integration of the latter into the source code of ParaFEM as a Cohesive Interface (zero geometrical thickness) Element Subroutine, (4) verification of its accurate functionality with the aid of well established benchmark problems, (5) and finally the culmination of scalability tests and direct comparison between the two programs. The work will be of interest to researchers wishing to perform very large analyses with cohesive elements using supercomputers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 24th UK Conference of the Association for Computational Mechanics in Engineering : 31 March - 01 April 2016, Cardiff University, Cardiff.
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Carbon Fibre Composites
    • Cohesive Element Subroutine
    • Large Scale Simulation
    • Modelling Damage
    • Modelling of Microstructure


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