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Master thesis: Accelerated Crack Propagation Calculations with CRACKTRACER3D (m/f/d)

Aircraft engines are subjected to several environmental influences. For instance, the occurrence of foreign object damage at airfoils is unavoidable during operation. To take this into account a damage tolerant design is necessary. Part of the substantiation of damage tolerance requires the use of 3D crack propagation analyses. At MTU this is done by a finite element method based in-house tool called CRACKTRACER3D.    

To determine the crack propagation size and direction the K-values have to be calculated. To this end the actual crack shape is inserted into the structure, a finite element calculation is performed with CalculiX and the K-factors are determined based on the stress singularity ahead of the crack front. These K-factors and the crack propagation direction are kept constant during a by the user predefined crack propagation increment. Subsequently, a new crack front is determined and the procedure is repeated until failure or some other criterion.

Since the K-factors are kept constant during the crack propagation increment the increment size must be rather small, leading to long calculation times. Instead, one could extrapolate the K-factors based on the actual crack length, or use a kind of predictor-corrector strategy in order to increase the increment size and decrease the computational times.


  • Getting acquainted with the present procedure in CRACKTRACER3D. Analyzing and becoming familiar with the FORTRAN and C code of the postprocessor of CRACKTRACER3D
  • Studying the literature and identifying the most promising procedures to increase  the crack propagation increment without destabilizing the calculation
  • Implementing these procedures and checking the performance and accuracy on specimens with a simple geometry
  • Performing tests on real engine components


  • Major in engineering, mathematics or physics
  • Experience with the finite element method
  • Good knowledge in mechanics, especially fracture mechanics
  • Programming experience in FORTRAN, C, C++, Python or related languages
  • Willing to get familiar with an existing code
  • Duration: 6 months


  • Insights into practical work in aviation as an innovative, high-tech industry
  • Exciting jobs that carry responsibility and are performed in an atmosphere of team spirit
  • A personally assigned contact and individual support services
  • Flexible working hours and compensatory time off
  • Networking opportunities


Give your career a boost and send us your complete application (Letter of Motivation, CV, Transcript of Records, High School Diploma).

We look forward to getting to know you!