Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue of Structures


Lecturer(s) :

Brühwiler Eugen
Nussbaumer Alain




Every 2 years


Next time: oct/nov 2021 Block course  Minimum 5 inscrits


Determination of stress intensity factors and application of fracture mechanics to structures made of different materials.Ability to apply fracture mechanics to predict brittle fracture+ compute fatigue life of structural elements.Understanding of the influencing parameters+methods to determine them


Fracture micromechanisms in steels, Griffith and Irwin theories, concept of stress intensity factor, fracture toughness and its determination

- Plated steel structures : Fatigue strength of welded steel elements, size effect, residual stresses influence, application of fracture mechanics to fatigue

- Tubular steel structures : Hot spot stress method for fatigue design, welded vs cast steel joints

- Structural glass: Subcritical crack growth, predicting time to failure

- Reinforced concrete structures : Fracture mechanics, fracture of concrete, size effect, brittle failure, fatigue of reinforced concrete elements, evaluation of fatigue safety of bridge decks, fracture due to dynamic effects.

- R-UHPFRC structures: fracture and fatigue properties of Ultra-High Performance Fiber Reinforced Composites, structural implications, design provisions.


Fracture mechanics, fatigue, steel structures, concrete structures, structural safety

Learning Prerequisites

Required courses

Mechanics of structures and materials

Teaching methods

Ex-cathedra lectures and exercices

Assessment methods

Oral exam

In the programs

Reference week

      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German