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Wen-Chin Liu, Zhong Liang, George C. Leebv

Abstract

In this paper, an effort was made to quantify the low cycle bending fatigue phenomenon under

random loading histories. To obtain this goal, a series of tests were conducted. Based on the

experimental data, along with the considerations of the fatigue failure mechanisms, a more

appropriate damage accumulation index formula is established. This formula of this research can

serve as the foundation for further investigation on more complicated members with local buckling

effects, welding residual stress effects, and etc. Once these effects are clarified and considered, a

design principle is then developed.

Introduction

The current seismic design of steel structures includes the concept of probability, which is

resulted from two main considerations, safety and economy. Hence, it is possible that the structure

members exceed the elastic limit and get into the nonlinear stage under earthquake excitation.

Though the structures may not fail immediately, there is damage accumulated in the term of low

cycle fatigue inside the materials. After certain earthquakes, these structures may eventually

collapse.

Though some researchers, [1,2], have consider this possibility, their approaches are all mainly

based on the low cycle bending fatigue tests under constant loading amplitudes. Since it is proved

inappropriate to use test data under constant amplitude to predict low cycle bending fatigue strength

under random loading,[3], this traditional method should be modified to reveal the real material

behaviors under earthquake excitation.

Test data

In order to establish an appropriate formula to quantify the damage accumulation for steel

members, sufficient test data is needed. In this paper, the test data from reference [3] is used. This

data includes 2 parts; the first part provides information of low cycle bending fatigue under various

loading histories; the second part is used for quantifying the grain orientation effect.

These specimens are all A36 steel square bars and clamped instead welded or bolted to prevent

complicated boundary conditions. Thus, the data can be considered pure low cycle bending fatigue.

Formula development

The definition of failure is chosen as the same as that of reference [3]. That is, while the moment

fell below 80% of the maximum moment of the same strain, the specimen is considered failed.

1

The formula development is described as the following sections:

Low cycle fatigue with constant amplitude

To develop a general formula for analyzing low cycle bending fatigue, the amplitude-life

relationship under constant bending amplitude reversals is established as a foundation. Here, the

modified Coffin-Manson, [4], formula is used:

( )

2

2

c

f f

N

1

where

2

is the total strain amplitude

f

2

f

N

is the total cycles to failure

c is the fatigue ductility exponent

The data of constant displacement amplitude tests from specimens part I is regressed in the form

of equation (1) as followed:

( )

0.3168

0.2285 2

2

f

N

2

The square of the correlation coefficient

2

r

of this regression is 0.9911.

Random displacement history low cycle fatigue

To quantify the damage accumulation of random bending history low cycle fatigue, the test data

of specimen SB from specimens part I is used. First of all, the Palmgren-Miner's rule, [5], is applied

as the basis for analysis. This method is assumed that the effect of each cycle is independent.

Accordingly, its damage index is a linear accumulation of each cycle, which is described as follow:

i

i

i

n

D

N

3

where D is the damage index

i

n

is number of cycles corresponding to the

th

i block of constant stress/strain amplitude

i

i

i

N

is the number of cycles to failure at

i

i

The analysis of random displacement history tests using this method is shown in Table 1, where

the second row to the 5th rows and 7th row to 12th row are the analytical damage indexes from

2

different approaches. This method becomes unreliable when the complication of the displacement

history increases.

For example, the damage indexes of specimens SB-3 and SB-4 are over 1.57, which is far too

optimistic.

To improve this method, previous research results and the phenomena observed by the tests are

considered. The considerations include effect of sudden tension amplitude decrease, relative strain

undergone and partial cycle counting.

A. Effect of sudden amplitude decrease

According to the previous researches, the sudden amplitude decrease will affect the

characteristics of subsequent cycles. If the previous large amplitude is in tension, it will reduce the

estimated amount of damage accumulation in subsequent cycles, [6]. If the previous amplitude is in

compression, the damage accumulation in subsequent cycles will be underestimated, [7]. In these

two circumstances, the effect of the tension amplitude reduction is much more obvious, [8].

Furthermore, in low cycle bending fatigue behavior, the material grain orientation of the specimens

also plays an important role in this effect, [3].

To quantify this phenomenon, the amplitude-changing factor K] is introduced into equation (3).

To make the calculation simple, the compression amplitude reduction effect is neglected, and only

the tension amplitude reduction effect is considered. Equation (3) is rewritten as:

1

m

i

j

i j

i

n

D K

N

_

,

4

1

1

100

j

k ka

b

i j i

1

1

]

if the tension amplitude of previous

th

j cycle is large than the current

cycle`s

where

1 j

K

1

100

j

ka

b

i j i

1

1

]

if the compression amplitude of previous

th

j cycle is large than the current cycle`s

1 otherwise

i

is the peak strain of

th

i cycle

1

k is the power coefficient of amplitude change

j

b

is the reduction coefficient of the sudden amplitude decrease effect

j

b

is increased as j increased, which means that the sudden amplitude decrease effect will be

gradually vanished as the cycles continued.

3

B. Relative strain undergone

Second, consider the situation that the absolute value of maximum strain and minimum strain is

not the same, that is, if the value of the load ratio

R

not -1. In this situation, the effective amplitude of these cycles should be modified. Some former

researches, [7], found that if the stress/strain level is large, the plastic stress relaxation would

progressively reduce the mean stress level to zero. That is, the effective strain amplitude would be

taken as:

( )

max min

2

e

5

where

e

max

min

is the minimum strain

The above method is developed from the constant amplitude cyclic loading tests. However, for

the random amplitude tests, because the amplitude keeps changing, there is not enough time for the

plastic stress relaxation to take place. Thus, using this modification of equation (5) along with

equation (3) can result in larger error, as seen in Table I. For example, specimens SB-3 and SB-4,

using this modification can cause almost 65% error. Besides, as the random amplitude history

become more complex, this modification is even harder to be practiced.

After certain detailed considerations in this study, it is concluded that the maximum relative

strain experienced between 2 consecutive cycles might be a reasonable measure. This concept

assumes that lager relative strain can introduce larger material damage. With this postulation, the

damage index is modified to the following equation to accommodate the condition of R being

unequal to-I or the random amplitude histories.

1 2

i

i

i

n

D K K

N

6

where

2

2

1

2

k

ri

i i

K

,

2

k is the power coefficient of the relative strain undergone

ri

is the relative strain, (from peak to valley or valley to peak)

C. Partial cycle counting and cycle counting method

When specimens are subjected to complex random strain histories, most cycles are incomplete

cycles. That is, at the end of a cycle, the strain does not return to where it was at the beginning of

that cycle. The damage effects of these partial cycles certainly are not the same as those of full

cycles. To quantify the effect of partial cycles, a third modification parameter

3

K

is introduced:

4

1 2 3

i

i

i

n

D K K K

N

7

where 3

2

ti

i

K

ti

is the total strain of

th

i cycle undergone

In complex random amplitude low cycle bending fatigue, cycle counting is another difficulty. As

the complexity of the random strain history increased, this task becomes more difficult. To

overcome this difficulty, rainflow counting method is developed by former researchers, [9].

The major advantage of the rainflow method is its ability to eliminate half-cycle counting and

thus simplifying the process of examining the strain history. However, it is still a very tedious

method for complicated strain histories. In addition, it is also difficult to carry out the modifications

already established.

Following the general thought of the rainflow method, a new counting approach is developed for

random amplitude loading histories in this study. This counting procedure is illustrated in Fig. 1

with the following details:

i. The counting unit used is 1/2 cycle. Although there will be stress saturation during the

loading reversals, the residual strain, (which causes grains to become elongated or

compressed), remains.

Thus, the unstressed point, 0 e , is important for describing the fatigue phenomenon.

ii. Plot the strain history. Find the peak points above 0 strain (pt.2, 6, 8, 10), and the valley

points below 0 strain (pt.4, 9, 11, 13). Each point is considered the extreme point of each

half cycle, and the amplitude is the absolute strain of the point.

The major difference between the conventional rainflow counting method and this proposed

cycle counting method is that the latter is simpler and the implementation of the modification

factors,

1

K ,

2

K and

3

K

is straightforward. For instance, in half-cycle <567>, the amplitude is the

strain at point 6,

ri

is the relative strain from peak/valley to valley/peak which is the total strain

from valley point 4 to peak point 6,

ti

and is the sum of the length of 56 and 67 .

D. Developed formulation

With the help of the new counting method and the

1

K effect reduced to influence the following 4

half-cycles, the modified damage index equation is then developed into the form as followed:

1 2 3

1

1

2

n

i

i

D K K K

N

1

2

4

1

1

1

1

2 100 2

2

kj

k

j

n

i j i

ri ti

i j

i i

i i

N

1

_

_

1

' ;

1

, 1 ,

]

8

1 kj

is the exponent of

1

K to the previous

th

j half cycle and is as the form of:

5

( )

1 a

k k

if the tension amplitude of previous cycle is larger than the current cycles

1 kj

a

k

if the compression amplitude of previous cycle is larger than the current cycles

0 otherwise

If there is no previous cycles for reference,

1

K ,

2

K and

3

K

should be taken as 1.

There is one thing in this equation that needs to be notified. Under random bending loadings, the

2 sides of specimen separated by the neutral axis may experience different tension/compression

histories.

Thus, both sides should be checked and the larger index should dominate the failure judgment.

To verify the accuracy, the random test data of specimens SB from specimens part I is applied

into equation (8), along with equation (3) and (5) in Table 1. From this table, it can be seen that

when 1 11000 k , and

5000

a

k

, the analytical error is dramatically reduced.

Quantification of grain orientation effect

The different grain orientations of the materials can cause the disparity of random low cycle

bending fatigue strength, [3]. This effect is quantified as introducing an angle coefficient "

a

k

" in

1

K

of equation (4). By introducing the test data from specimens part II, along with the change of the

a

k

values, the analysis damage indexes using equation (8) is provided in Table 2. In this table, the first

row is the identification of specimens; the second row are the orientation angles; the third row is the

damage accumulation using linear theory, equation (3); the 4th row is the damage index using

effective-strain method, equation (5), along with Miner's rule, equation (3); the 6th row is the value

of

a

k

, the 7th row is the damage accumulation using the proposed formula, equation (8); the 8th

row is the error reduced by comparing the third row and the 7th row; and the 9th through 16th rows

repeat the first portions of the table.

From Table 2, it can be seen that changing values of

a

k

can increase the accuracy of analysis.

Besides, it also can be noticed that if the grain orientation of the specimens is near 45

o

, the

specimens have the least low cycle bending fatigue strength and have the largest value of

a

k

. When

the orientation angle is increased the fatigue life is increased and the ka value is decreased. This

trend matches the failure mechanism observed from reference [3]. To regulate and quantify the

relationship of

a

k

and grain orientation angle, more tests should be conducted and more precise

method to measure the grain orientation should be developed.

Discussions on errors

The desired value of the indexes in Table 1 and Table 2 should be unity. The error is the absolute

6

value of the difference between the analytical indexes and 1. If the index value is greater than 1, the

results underestimate the truth. On the other hand, if the index value is less than one, it is too

conservative. Although equation (8) is more accurate compared with traditional approaches, there

still exist some errors.

These errors are caused by the following reasons:

I. The inherent error from the test setup and testing devices.

II. The modifications used in the proposed method only consider major effects that have already

been addressed and developed so far. There might be some other factors that are not yet

discovered.

III. The simplifications of these methods, such as neglecting the sudden compression amplitude

reduction effect, condensing the sudden amplitude reduction effect within the subsequent first

cycle, neglecting the elastic strain effect, etc, are intended for easier implementation in

engineering practice.

Conclusions

Low cycle bending fatigue may be one of the major failure mode in steel structures attacked by

strong earthquakes. Conventional analysis is based on the cyclic loading tests, and it is proven

inaccurate for random loading tests. From the study of this paper, some conclusions are listed as

follow:

1. Considering major effects and modifying the conventional method with 3 factors,

1

K ,

2

K ,

3

K

along with new cycle counting method, a more accurate and reliable formula for predicting

low cycle bending fatigue strength under the random amplitude reversals is developed.

2. The grain orientation of the steel cannot be easily acquired via traditional material tests nor on

the purchasing specification and the bending moment which the real structure members are

subjected under earthquake may not be in the desired direction. Thus, for the conservative

point of view, it is suggested that 1 11000 k ,

5000

a

k

and 2 1 k .

3. Despite ka, because the modifications of the formula are based on the failure mechanisms that

are valid under either bending or axial loading formula developed is still useful if specimens

are under axial cyclic (random) loadings reversals. To practice it, the power coefficients of

1

K

and

2

K should be adjusted for this purpose.

Suggestions on further investigations

This paper is focused on the A36 steel square bars clamped, subjected with one direction bending

force without axial load induced. However, in real world, structural members are more complicated

whether in shapes, in connection constrain or on the forces they subjected to. To make the results

more feasible and provide design principles, further investigations are needed. The future

7

investigation may include:

1. To find out the contribution of local buckling effects, welding (material properties changed)

effects and different connection configuration effects to the low cycle bending fatigue.

2. To find out the effects of the combination of axial and bending loads.

3. To find out the behavior of low cycle fatigue under multiple directional bending loads.

4. And to find out the effects of the strain rates.

The first three are to reveal the conditions of real structure members, and the last one is to

concern the dynamic loading effect of earthquakes. Considering these supplements along with our

proposed formula, a method for structure design is than established to prevent low cycle bending

fatigue caused by earthquakes.

Reference

1. Krawinkler, H., and Zohrei, M., "Cumulative Damage in Steel Structures Subjected to

Earthquake Ground Motions", Journal of Computers and Structures, Vol. 16, No. 1-4, 1983,

pp.531-541

2. Mander, J.B., Pekcan, Q Chen, S.S., "Low-Cycle variable Amplitude Fatigue Modeling of Top-

and-Seat Angle Connections", Engineering Journal, second quarter, 1995, pp.54-62

3. Liu, W.C., Liang, Z., Lee, G.C., "Low Cycle Bending Fatigue of Steel Bars Under Random

Excitation; Part II: Design Considerations", 2002

4. Suresh, S., "Fatigue of Materials", 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1998

5. Middeldorf, D.K., "Cumulative Damage Under Constant Amplitude And Variable Amplitude

Loading: Some New Physical Aspects", Low Cycle Fatigue And Elasto-Plastic Behaviour Of

Materials, Elsevier, 1987

6. Topper, T.H., Yu, M.T., 'The Effect of Overloads on Threshold and Crack Growth",

International Journal of Fatigue 7,1985, pp. 159-164

7. Sandor, B.I., "Fundamentals of Cyclic Stress and Strain", University of Wisconsin Press, 1972

8. Christ, H.J., "Cyclic Stress-Strain Response and Microstructure", ASM HANDBOOK Vol. 19,

ASM International, 1996, pp. 73-95

9. Landgraf, R.W., LaPointe, N.R., "Cyclic Stress-Strain Concepts Applied to Component Fatigue

Life Prediction", SAE Paper No.740280, 1974

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