01609nas a2200121 4500008004100000245009900041210006900140260001800209520118400227100002101411700001901432856003601451 2002 en d00aA model for the quasi-static growth of a brittle fracture: existence and approximation results0 amodel for the quasistatic growth of a brittle fracture existence bSISSA Library3 aWe study a variant of the variational model for the quasi-static growth of brittle fractures proposed by Francfort and Marigo.9 The main feature of our model is that, in the discrete-time formulation, in each step we do not consider absolute minimizers of the energy, but, in a sense, we look for local minimizers which are sufficiently close to the approximate solution obtained in the previous step. This is done by introducing in the variational problem an additional term which penalizes the L2-distance between the approximate solutions at two consecutive times. We study the continuous-time version of this model, obtained by passing to the limit as the time step tends to zero, and show that it satisfies (for almost every time) some minimality conditions which are slightly different from those considered in Refs. 9 and 8, but are still enough to prove (under suitable regularity assumptions on the crack path) that the classical Griffith\\\'s criterion holds at the crack tips. We also prove that, if no initial crack is present and if the data of the problem are sufficiently smooth, no crack will develop in this model, provided the penalization term is large enough.1 aDal Maso, Gianni1 aToader, Rodica uhttp://hdl.handle.net/1963/1571