Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

G. Dal Maso - R. Toader

A model for the quasi-static growth of brittle fractures based on local minimization

created on 29 Jun 2002
modified on 16 Jan 2004


Published Paper

Inserted: 29 jun 2002
Last Updated: 16 jan 2004

Journal: Math. Models Methods Appl. Sci.
Volume: 12
Pages: 1773-1800
Year: 2002


We study a variant of the variational model for the quasi-static growth of brittle fractures proposed by Francfort and Marigo. The main feature of our model is that, in the discrete-time formulation, in each step we do not consider absolute minimizers of the energy, but, in a sense, we look for local minimizers which are sufficiently close to the approximate solution obtained in the previous step. This is done by introducing in the variational problem an additional term which penalizes the $L^2$-distance between the approximate solutions at two consecutive times. We study the continuous-time version of this model, obtained by passing to the limit as the time step tends to zero, and show that it satisfies (for almost every time) some minimality conditions which are slightly different from those considered in Francfort and Marigo and in our previous paper on this subject, but are still enough to prove (under suitable regularity assumptions on the crack path) that the classical Griffith's criterion holds at the crack tips. We prove also that, if no initial crack is present and if the data of the problem are sufficiently smooth, no crack will develop in this model, provided the penalization term is large enough.