This paper describes the structure and application of a software system that automates the fatigue initiation and crack propagation analysis based on FEM. The system automatically performs necessary procedures to track propagation history of cracks: insertion of a crack and updating of three-dimensional finite element mesh in accordance with the crack propagation. Most of the meshing is carried out by a Delaunay tessellation method. A tubular hexahedral mesh is generated at the crack front and the fracture mechanics parameters are computed using commercial codes to ensure accuracy. The generation of this tubular hexahedral mesh is fully automatic as well.
The system is equipped with a function to automatically perform fatigue analyses using the stress-strain histories at nodes of a three-dimensional FEM model. The standard low cycle fatigue analysis approach is adopted. Using the function, cumulative fatigue for a given FEM model is provided. Some analyses for several examples were carried out for validation. The important example is the surface crack propagation in steel pipes with residual stress.