Fatigue crack propagation is an important consideration in evaluating the design life of engineering components, especially in the energy and transport industries. Despite its importance, fatigue analyses are not usually supported by commercial Finite Element (FE) codes; in fact, most FE codes require the addition of costly plug-ins to perform fatigue crack growth simulations. Therefore, this paper introduces a new, freely distributed plug-in to simulate fatigue crack growth with the commercial FE code Abaqus. The plug-in includes five different fatigue crack growth models and relies on the extended FE method to simulate crack propagation. The plug-in is limited to 2D analyses, but covers all necessary steps for fatigue crack growth simulations, from creating the geometry to job submission and post-processing. The implementation of the plug-in is validated by comparing its predictions to analytical and experimental results. Finally, we hope that the simplicity of the plug-in and the fact that it is distributed freely will make it a useful simulation tool for industrial, research and educational purposes.
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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag London Ltd. part of Springer Nature.