Macroscopic finite elements are elements with an embedded analytical solution that can capture detailed local fields, enabling more efficient, mesh independent finite element analysis. The shape functions are determined based on the analytical model rather than prescribed. This method was applied to adhesively bonded joints to model joint behavior with one element through the thickness. This study demonstrates two methods of maintaining the fidelity of such elements during adhesive non-linearity and cracking without increasing the mesh needed for an accurate solution. The first method uses adaptive shape functions, where the shape functions are recalculated at each load step based on the softening of the adhesive. The second method is internal mesh adaption, where cracking of the adhesive within an element is captured by further discretizing the element internally to represent the partially cracked geometry. By keeping mesh adaptations within an element, a finer mesh can be used during the analysis without affecting the global finite element model mesh. Examples are shown which highlight when each method is most effective in reducing the number of elements needed to capture adhesive nonlinearity and cracking. These methods are validated against analogous finite element models utilizing cohesive zone elements. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Stapleton, S. E., Pineda, E. J., Gries, T., & Waas, A. M. (2014). Adaptive shape functions and internal mesh adaptation for modeling progressive failure in adhesively bonded joints. International Journal of Solids and Structures, 51(18), 3252–3264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2014.05.022