This study focuses on numerical simulation of ductile failure in the Co binder phase of WC-Co hardmetal. The growth of edge cracks under mode I loading is considered. A computational micromechanics approach is taken where the Co binder ligaments are explicitly represented in finite element models. An embedding technique is employed. Crystal plasticity theory is used to represent plastic deformation in the Co ligaments. Crack propagation in the binder is simulated using an element removal technique based on a modified Rice and Tracey model for ductile void growth, and fracture resistance curves are generated. Parameter studies are performed for variations in microstructrual parameters such as numbers of Co ligaments ahead of the crack tip and local Co volume fraction. The importance of thermal residual stresses and finite element mesh density are also investigated. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.