The FRacture ANalysis Code 3D (FRANC3D) program is designed to simulate 3D crack growth in engineering structures where the component geometry, local loading conditions, and the evolutionary crack geometry can be arbitrarily complex. It is designed to be used as a companion to general purpose Finite Element (FE) solvers.


  • Allows the use of existing finite element models
  • Provides more accurate forecast of component life expectancies
  • Precision and depth can be added to the results by incorporating 3-D fracture modeling into engineering analysis
  • Reduces cost
  • Provides a more efficient method for designing engineering components

Understanding the FRANC3D process:

  1. an analyst creates an uncracked FE mesh using the standard tools available in the commercial FE package.
  2. The analyst then defines a sub-model of the crack growth region.
  3. FRANC3D reads the sub-model mesh file and remeshes the sub-model to incorporate the geometry of a crack. The crack geometry and location can be prescribed interactively using the Graphical User Interface (GUI).
  4. The "cracked" sub-model is reintegrated into the remainder of the model and an analysis is performed.
  5. The resulting displacements are read back into FRANC3D, which computes Stress Intensity Factors (SIF's) for all node points along the crack front.
  6. The SIF's are used to predict the direction and relative amount of growth of the crack front points.
  7. The crack is extended, the sub-model remeshed, and another stress analysis is performed. This process is repeated for the number of crack steps specified by the analyst.

Features and

  • Based on Finite Element Method
  • Interfaces to the major FE solvers: ANSYS, ABAQUS, NX/NASTRAN, and MSC/NASTRAN
  • Suppots finite volume voids and zero volume cracks
  • Supports multiple crack types (elliptical, through-the-thickness, and others)
  • Supports multiple crack fronts, multiple cracks, and multiple load cases
  • Crack front mesh uses wedge, brick, and pyramid elements for accuracy
  • Graphical User Interface includes several wizards and dialogs for crack insertion, crack growth, and analysis
  • Adaptively remeshes a finite element model to simulate crack growth
  • Mesh smoothing algorithm is used to improve element quality
  • Stress intensity factors can be computed for both isotropic and generally anisotropic materials accounting for temperature change and crack face tractions and/or contact pressures
  • Computes the stress intensity factors associated with all three modes of fracture for all nodal points along the crack front
  • Stress intensity factors are saved in FRANC3D database for each crack front for each crack extension
  • Supports several options for computing the kink angle and the relative crack extension
  • Polynomial curves can be used to fit the crack front
  • Fully automatic crack growth process including non-planar crack growth and the ability to monitor the crack growth and verify the results by using the post-processing module in FRANC3D
  • Session file is saved automatically that contains all the commands and options that the user chooses during GUI operations. The file can be edited/modified and re-submitted
  • Provides a Python based programming interface that allows for automation of repetitive tasks and provides a strategy for coupling FRANC3D with other computational applications
  • Fretting nucleation module can be used to compute the number of load cycles to crack nucleation and initial crack location for fretting applications
  • Fatigue life module can be used to compute the discrete crack propagation cycles
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