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Finite element code for crack propagation
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Crack propagation

This is a finite element code based in deal.II to simulate crack propagation in elastic and porous media.


  • phase field approach for the crack location
  • primal-dual active set method for the irreversibility constraint
  • novel adaptive mesh refinement technique

This project was originally developed for the two papers mentioned below, but has been extended considerably since then. Please cite these papers if you make use of our work. Thank you!

The original code versions are available as separate branches in this repository:

  1. for

T. Heister, M. F. Wheeler, T. Wick: A primal-dual active set method and predictor-corrector mesh adaptivity for computing fracture propagation using a phase-field approach. Comp. Meth. Appl. Mech. Engrg., Vol. 290 (2015), pp. 466-495

A preprint is available here:

  1. for

T. Heister, T. Wick: Parallel solution, adaptivity, computational convergence, and open-source code of 2d and 3d pressurized phase-field fracture problems ArXiv preprint

How to run

You need to install deal.II (see with external dependencies p4est and Trilinos. Then configure with:

  cmake -D DEAL_II_DIR=/your/dealii-installation/ .

Compile with:


and finally run with:

  mpirun -n 2 ./cracks parameters_sneddon_2d.prm


The code is published under GPL v2 or newer.

Authors: Timo Heister, Thomas Wick.

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