You are on page 1of 7


Andr Alaniz Cesrio Cezar Mattos Rodrigo Bernardi

Guerra S/A Implementos Rodovirios

Luiz Gustavo Del Bianchi da Silva Lima Fabiano Nunes Diesel Giovanni de Morais Teixeira
ESSS Engineering Simulation and Scientific Software
Copyright 2011 Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc

ABSTRACT In the present paper, a numerical methodology has been proposed to predict fatigue failure of a semi-trailer under random loading conditions. The methodology combines PSD FEA (Finite Element Analysis) with Dirliks equations in order to calculate fatigue damage. Instead of time domain traditional methodologies, here a frequency domain approach has being adopted. This kind of approach requires the PSDs (Power Spectral Density) of the imposed loadings, which are a statistical slope of the loading in frequency domain. As a result of the Spectral Analysis (or Random Vibration, according to ANSYS terminology) the output 1, 2 and 3 stresses are the quantities to be combined in order to get the remained life or the cumulative damage all over the structure. The experimental data are obtained with accelerometers positioned at the semi-trailer suspension and strain gages at the critical points of the structure, where its possible to capture the system dynamics. The measured accelerations are used as an input data for finite element analysis, which also combines the mode shapes of the whole structure in order to get the PSD stresses. The strains at the gages are used to calibrate the FE model and so validate the numerical model. The major advantage of such approach is the huge reduction in processing time, since a very expensive time domain explicit transient analysis are replaced by a coupled modal and random vibration analysis. This approach is

very useful especially for situations where the loading histories are not deterministic, although their content is statistically constant. So, with the resultant PSD of stresses at each node, a PSD cycle counting is performed and combined to the fatigue curve of the material in order to get the Miner Damage Summation. Its worth mentioning that a frequency domain approach is valid under the hypothesis of proportional linear elastic analysis. INTRODUCTION Along its lifetime, semi-trailers are subjected mainly to loads coming from the suspension systems, which are reactions to the structure weight and its overload along a loading history. Gradually the alternating of the stress tensors at some locations on the structure will reach a number of cycles which, eventually, is higher than the one allowed for the correspondent equivalent alternating stress of its material fatigue curve. And when this happens a fatigue crack initiates. The main obstacle to an accurate fatigue analysis comes from the random nature of the applied loadings, as a consequence of the irregular grounds where the vehicles are supposed to be driven through. Under such conditions, time domain approaches arent the most recommended.

The present study proposes a numerical methodology to study the fatigue phenomenon of the mentioned semitrailer through finite element analysis (FEA). According to this methodology, the stresses all over the structure are calculated through a random vibration analysis, which takes the modal analysis and the PSD of the measured accelerations at the critical points, on a bumpy road, where the test was performed. According to Kumar [2], the frequency domain approach is more suitable to this kind of random condition, allowing the prediction of the number of cycles to failure from the magnitude and frequency of the equivalent stresses at the component. It has also been taking into account the Cross-Spectral Density (CSDs) Curves in order to allow for the out-ofphase loadings, according to Bishop [3] and Hougaz [4]. According to Hougaz [4], the main advantage of this methodology is the reduction in the computing effort, since the calculation through the transfer functions are less complex than performing a large transient time domain analysis. This fact opens the possibility of analyzing long time histories and not only very short samples in order to get the calculation done at a reasonable time.

Figure 1: Semi-trailer used in the analysis.

DEVELOPMENT The first step before going into a Random Vibration Analysis is to perform a modal analysis. All the locations in the chassis where the loadings take place under service will be fully constrained in this modal analysis. In a random vibration analysis since the input excitations are statistical in nature, so are the output responses such as displacements, stresses, strains, etc. The Random Vibration Analysis gets the results of the modal analysis (as natural frequencies, modal stresses, etc) to calculate the transfer functions which will be combined to the measured accelerations (previously transformed from time domain to frequency domain, by means of a FFT analysis) and calculate the acceleration responses in the frequency domain and, considering the assumed linearity, the stresses in the frequency domain are automatically obtained. Afterwards, by calculating the spectral moments, well be able to compute fatigue damage and expected number of cycles, according to Kumar [2]. The experimental evaluations were split into steps. First, the numerical model were calibrated and, after that, the semi-trailer (see fig.1) was driven through a rough pavement having the accelerometers positioned at the locations shown on (fig.2).

Figure 2: The locations were the accelerometers were placed. In order to validate the numerical model, strain gages were employed to calibrate the finite element model (FEM). Prescribed displacements were imposed to the structure (fig.3) and the correspondent location in the FE model, so that the deformation results could be compared.

Figure 3: Prescribed displacements at the structure.

There were positioned seven accelerometers on the frontal part, one at every suspension support (six accelerometers) and one on the master pin. The strain gages employed are triaxial (0/45/90) stacked rosette, from Kyowa, 6 mm long (fig.4). The accelerometers are from Silicon Designs (model 2210-025), able to measure +/-25 g (see fig.5). The dynamic test acquisition has used a sample rate of 600 Hz.

fatigue analysis. Through these four spectral moment values, eight new quantities can be calculated:

2 0 . 4 2 4

(2) (3)

= 1 . 1 =

2.( 2 ) 1+ 2 1 2
1 +1


(4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

= 1

1 1 2 = 1 3 = 1 1 2 = 2. 0

1 + 2

1.25 .(3 2 .) 1


Figura 4: strain gage Kyowa employed on the measurements.

The aforementioned variables allow the calculation of the PSD probability density function, p(S), through the following equation:
2 2 1 2 . + 2 . 2. 2 +3 .. 2

2. 0


The probability density function, p(S), the testing time (T) and the number of peaks per unit of time (E[P]) are so combined at the following equation:

= . . ()


Figure 5: Accelerometer employed on the measurements. According to the methodology proposed by Dirlik [1], from PSD curve (stress versus frequency) of the stress response (also called RPSD), its possible to determine four quantities so called PSD moments, calculated by the following equation:

Where n(S) is the expected number of cycles (remaining life) related to the stress amplitude S. The number of peaks is calculated as follows:

4 2



With n= 1...4.
Theoretically, all possible moments are required to completely characterize the original signal. However, in practice, it has shown that m0, m1, m2 and m4 are enough to compute all of the information required for the subsequent

According to Kumar [2], in order to get the number of cycles correspondent to the response PSD, its necessary to combine the aforementioned relationship with Miners rule (eq.13), that is a linear damage summation of the relevant events the structure has gone through.


The Steinberg solution computes the influence of 1-Sigma, 2-Sigma and 3-Sigma stresses, weighting them to get the equivalent alternating stresses and calculate the

number of cycles to failure. This technique is also referred as the 3-band technique and its formulation is stated below:


= [0.683 2 0

+ 0.271 4 0

0.043 6 0 ]

(14) Before getting into Dirliks solution, the Probability Density Function (PDF) concept should be introduced. The PDF is, by far, one of the most convenient ways to store stress range information (see fig.6). For instance, the probability of the stress range occurring between (Si-ds/2) and (Si+dS/2) is given by (p(Si).dS).

Figure 7: Fatigue Curve for an A36 steel alloy. The fatigue curve for the semi-trailer steel alloy is shown right above (fig.7). It is worth noticing that in this fatigue curve is already embedded the fatigue modifying factors to allow for gradient/size effect, surface finishing, loading type, loading temperature and reliability factor. The present methodology, however, likewise most of proposed procedures, the effect of mean stresses are not taken into account, despite of its proven influence on fatigue life. Figure 6: Probability Density Function. Therefore, integrating the p(s) function over the entire range of stresses the structure experiences, taking into account the time (T) the component is exposed to the random loading, the material parameters (m), (k) and the expected number of peaks, E[P], we end up with (eq.15), stated below: RESULTS Similar semi-trailers have shown fatigue cracks at the welding toes (that is a classical notch), between tank support plate and chassis, as outlined in fig.8. This initial information allowed us to choose a region to look at more carefully and apply the proposed methodology. Therefore, considering a node located in this region, also taking into account the stress spectrum obtained from ANSYS as result of the random vibration analysis (RPSD), illustrated in fig.9, the spectral moments calculated were: m0 = 1.487.1012 m1 = 8.921.1013 m2 = 5.702.1015 m4 = 2.584.1019 Taking these moments into equations (2) to (10), the probability density function, p(S) can be calculated at any point in the stress range. Also, given that k=9.81.1025 and m=9.09, from the S-N curve of the material (fig.7), the integral term in equation 15 could be calculated, leading to:

= . .



Where E(D) stands for the expected fatigue damage caused by the entire loading history.

= .

6.82 . 4.74. 109 9.81. 1025

Providing that the data acquisition lasted 6.82 seconds and that E[P]=67.31 (obtained from eq. 12), results that:

In other words, no damage has resulted from the imposed random loading along 6.82 seconds of test. Considering the operation of the component for a larger amount of time, say 10 years working for 12 hours a day, we would get to about 5.107 of damage (by replacing 6.82 seconds for the total 10-year operation time of the component in eq. 15), still very far from the unity, indicating that under such conditions the operation of the semi-trailer would not lead to failure of the most critical component, as the stresses are far below the fatigue limit for A36 steel alloy.

Figure 9: PSD Stress output of a node in the critical region.

SUMMARY In the present work, a numerical frequency-domain fatigue methodology has been proposed for damage prediction of a semi-trailer component under random operating loads, acquired experimentally and used as the input for the numerical model. From the direct input of such data in the FE numerical model, through the modal and random analysis performed to obtain the PSD response of the system in a given region of the semi-trailer, to the postprocessing of the PSD output data to obtain spectral moments and, further, the estimated damage in the region considered as critical, the processes involved in the study have shown to be fast and very straightforward, in opposition to the expected difficulties when working with traditional, time-domain methodologies in this kind of problem, where the loads are not deterministic, but follows a random distribution. The results obtained predict practically no damage at the critical region chosen for the present study, even when considering the actual lifecycle of the component. The reason for that is the very short acquisition time of 6.82 seconds, along with the fact that the loadings does not represent the worst scenario this structure is supposed to go through along its lifetime. In other words, the pavement was very smooth, with no severe bumps and accidents where heavy bending and torsion modes could bring significantly high stresses to the considered region. Considering that this low loading profile is extrapolated to the whole operating life of the system, it is expected that no damage would occur, in agreement with the results observed. As well as performing larger tests under more severe conditions, it is intended for the future works to

Figure 8: General view (above) and detail of the welding toes between tank support plate and chassis.

compare the results obtained to the ones predicted by other fatigue theories and to methodologies following different procedures, in order to validate the proposed process. Also, tests in different types of pavements are to be done, in order to predict the damage expected for each of them. REFERENCES [1] Dirlik, T., Application of computers in Fatigue Analysis, University of Warwick Thesis, 1985.

[2] Kumar, S.M., Analyzing Random Vibration Fatigue, ANSYS Advantage, vol.2, issue 3, 2008.

[3] Bishop, N.W.M., Vibration Fatigue Analysis in the Finite Element Environment, XVI Encuentro del Grupo Espaol de Fractura, 1999. [4] Hougaz, A. B., Anlise Probabilstica de durabilidade aplicada a veculos de carga rodoviria, Tese Doutorado, Universidade de So Paulo, 2005.

Av. Paulista, 2.073 - Ed. Horsa II - Cj. 1003 So Paulo / SP - CEP 01311-940 Seo Regional Caxias do Sul (54) 3223.8677

11 3287-2033 (fone) / 11 3288-6599 (fax)