Lynx: A user-friendly computer application for simulating fatigue growth of planar cracks using FEM



People engaged in fracture mechanics education recognise the need to combine theory and effective practice in order to enhance students' skills in this field. Nevertheless, real experiments are not always possible for education purposes because they require too much time, involve specialised equipment and specimen preparation. In these circumstances, numerical simulation is a valid alternative to guarantee the link between theory and practice. In this article, a computer application capable of simulating the fatigue crack growth (FCG) of planar cracks under mode-I cyclic loading is presented. This tool incorporates an extensive range of real significance problems found in the context of FCG. Besides, an intuitive and user-friendly interface was provided in order to improve its functionality and to allow the user to define quickly and easily fundamental input data. Default values are proposed for less experienced users, seeking the minimum effort in numerical model definition. The use of this software in educational context is expected to provide a major insight into FCG phenomenon. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 22:529–540, 2014; View this article online at; DOI 10.1002/cae.10.1002/cae.20578