Transient heat transfer or dynamic-induced stress developments in precracked dam structures may be seen as characteristic examples for fracture mechanics investigations under special conditions. Both effects require the use of special contact elements in connection with opening and closing of the crack faces. As a further consequence the crack tip area in the present case had to be represented by 27-node (distorted) brick elements to obtain element compatibility.

A routine quite similar to the 20-node element stress intensity factor (SIF) evaluation procedure representing the SIF distribution along the crack front is presented. The method is demonstrated via a fracture study of a thermally affected crack in a buttress dam.

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