Characteristics of windshield cracking upon low-speed impact: Numerical simulation based on the extended finite element method

Jun XU, Yibing LI, Xi CHEN*, Yuan YAN, Dongyun GE, Mengyi ZHU, Bohan LIU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Windshield glass crack characteristics are of great interest to vehicle manufacturers, safety engineers, and accident investigators, because they contain important information on energy mitigation, pedestrian protection, and accident reconstruction. We use the extended finite element method (XFEM) to analyze the model problem of low-speed head impact on a windshield plate. Both the radial crack and circumferential crack propagations are characterized. A parametric study is carried out to investigate the effects of impact speed, head mass, initial material flaw, material fracture criterion, etc., and correlate them with the crack direction and length. It is found that the critical accident information, such as the impact speed or damage stress, can be deduced from the crack pattern characteristics. A qualitative bridge can be established between numerical simulation result and real-world accident via the crack growth mechanism. Our study shows that XFEM is a useful tool for simulating several types of cracks that appear during quasi-static indentation or low-speed impact of foreign objects on windshield materials. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-588
Number of pages6
JournalComputational Materials Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work is financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under the Grant No. 10972122, State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety & Energy, Tsinghua University under Grant No. ZZ0800062 and Doctoral Fund of Ministry of Education of China under Grant No. 20090002110082. Y. Li and X. Chen appreciate the founding from Tsinghua University under the International Cooperation Project. J. Xu also appreciates China Scholarship Council (CSC) to financially sponsor his study at Columbia University through joint Ph.D. program. X. Chen is supported by the National Science Foundation (CMMI-0643726), NSFC (50928601), Chang Jiang Scholar Program of Ministry of Education of China, and a World Class University (WCU) program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea (R32-2008-000-20042-0).


  • Crack propagation
  • Extended finite element method
  • Glass
  • Low-speed impact
  • Windshield


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