Fatigue in Welded Structures

Lars Damkilde Section for Structural Mechanics Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University

Stress state
Nominal stress, geometric stress and notch stress


Stress state … - Nominal stresses will normally be based on beam theory. - - 3 . which is valid sufficiently long from the weld. The notch stress is the actual stress in the weld. The nominal stresses define the level of stress state. Neighbouring elements influence through the stiffness. The geometric stresses or the stress concentration factor (SCF) is due to the geometrical changes in the structure near the weld. Unfortunately this stress state is virtually impossible to calculate due to the weld process which both induce change in material properties and residual stresses due to heating/cooling.

Match of the structural details to one of the known welding details. Calculation of the geometric stress level in the actual structural part. 4 . This step involves engineering judgement.Basis for fatigue design for welded structures • • Experimentally based S-N curves for a number of different welding details. This can either be based on handcalculation with some semi-empirical corrections or by FEM. (based on Paris’ law) • • • Accumulation of damage from different stress levels (Palmgren-Miner). Calculation of the damage accumulation taking into account the stress variation and the number of cycles.

Eurocode – experimental curves 5 .

Some welding details 6 .

Tubular sections 7 .

Palmgren-Miners rule Principle is to decompose the load history into a number of cycles at different stress level.Cumultative damage . The damage for each level of stress is calculated and the total damage is summed. 8 .

and will add to the accumulated index. and they have a large scatter. That means that large load amplitudes followed by smaller load amplitudes are equal to smaller load amplitudes followed by larger amplitudes.Assumption for Palmgren-Miners rule • The order of loads is of no importants. • In practise the experimental data are hard to get. • Some research results indicate that the so-called non-uniformity index has importance. 9 .

Load history – calculation The load history shall be transformed into a number of cycles at different levels. Time under load is of no importance and only the amplitude stresses are of interest. 10 .

The stress levels from a load history 11 .

12 . The principle of dividing the process into closed loops.Rain Flow counting – a method for dividing the load history into cycles.

More complicated 13 .

Rain-Flow counting can be programmed and calculated on the fly (continously). 14 .

Tubular joints – typical in many offshore structures. 15 .

Replacing rigid joint connections with joint flexibility is often beneficial. • For most offshore structures fatigue is of great importance. • For non-planar joints the semi-empirical formulas are more questionable.Structural analysis • Global analysis based on 3-D Beam elements. • Detailed analysis of joints can either be based on semi-empirical formulas or Finite Element analysis. 16 .

SCF-factors for tubular joints: Some definitions 17 .

Different joint types .planar joints 18 .

SCF – values are generally high. 19 .

Calculation of hot-spot stresses 20 .

SCF – values depend on the joint type. 21 .

Stress points in a K/Y-joint 22 .

Decomposing of a joint into two loading types. 23 .

Geometrical definitions. 24 .

Formulas for the SCF-factors 25 .