The extended finite element method (XFEM) is an extension of the conventional finite element method based on the concept of partition of unity. In this method, the presence of a crack is ensured by the special enriched functions in conjunction with additional degrees of freedom. This approach also removes the requirement for explicitly defining the crack front or specifying the virtual crack extension direction when evaluating the contour integral.

In this paper, stress intensity factors (SIF) for various crack types in plates and pipes were calculated using the XFEM embedded in ABAQUS. These results were compared against handbook solutions, results from conventional finite element method, and results obtained from finite element alternating method (FEAM). Based on these results, applicability of the ABAQUS XFEM to stress intensity factor calculations was investigated. Discussions are provided on the advantages and limitations of the XFEM.

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