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ECCS – Technical Committee 6 – Fatigue

Good Design Practice
A Guideline for Fatigue Design


2000 N° 105
2 Good design practice

ISBN :92-9147-000-46

Copyright © 2000 by the European Convention for Constructional Steelwork

All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
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ECCS assumes no liability with respect to the application of the material or information contained in this

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 3

This guideline has been designed for project managers in design offices, engineers in steel construction
companies and construction survey engineers concerned with the manufacture of structures subjected to
fatigue loads induced by frequently changing actions, traffic actions, wind induced oscillations or
comparable actions. Contained herein is a review of the current knowledge in fatigue design and the
fabrication of fatigue resistant structures.
This document contains information about design that is in conformity with the currently available
Eurocode 3 prestandards, which deals with the design of steel structures. Furthermore, it contains
information about fabrication aspects not covered in the Eurocodes.
The document should be viewed as a source of advice to be consulted before designing, fabricating, or
repairing a structure subjected to fatigue. The document is organised as follows:
• Chapter 2 : basic fatigue theory, modelling of fatigue actions and strength. The reader interested only in
the design and fabrication aspects of fatigue resistant structures should go directly to the next chapters.
• Chapter 3 : factors affecting fatigue controlled by the designer.
• Chapters 4 and 6 : factors controlled by the fabricator/assembler.
• Chapter 5 : existing weld improvement methods, that is methods for increasing the fatigue strength of
selected details.
• Chapter 7 : principles of the fitness-for-purpose approach, advice on methods for repairing structures
during fabrication, erection, or repairing existing structures.

Ces recommandations ont étés rédigées pour les chefs de projets dans les bureaux d’étude, les ingénieurs
travaillant dans des entreprises de constructions métalliques ainsi que ceux chargés du suivi de chantiers et
traitent de la fabrication de structures soumises à des sollicitations de fatigue produites par des charges de
trafic, des oscillations dues au vent, ou .d’autres actions variant fréquemment. Le lecteur trouvera dans ici
un état des connaissances actuelles en matière de conception à la fatigue et de fabrication de structures
résistantes à la fatigue.
Ce document contient des informations en conformité avec les prénormes Européennes qui concernent les
structures métalliques actuellement disponibles. De plus, des recommandations quant à la fabrication, sujet
qui n’est pas traité dans les Eurocodes, sont également fournies.
Ce document devrait être considéré comme une source de conseils à consulter avant de concevoir, fabriquer
ou réparer une structure sujette à des sollicitations de fatigue. Il est organisé de la manière suivante :
• Chapitre 2 : théorie de base en fatigue, modélisation des sollicitations et de la résistance en fatigue. Le
lecteur uniquement intéressé par la conception et la fabrication de structures résistantes à la fatigue
devrait passer directement aux chapitres suivants.
• Chapitre 3 : facteurs influençant la résistance à la fatigue liés à la conception.
• Chapitres 4 et 6 : facteurs influençant la résistance à la fatigue sous contrôle du fabricant ou du monteur.
• Chapitre 5 : méthodes existantes de parachèvement des soudures, c’est-à-dire permettant d’accroître la
résistance à la fatigue de certains détails choisis.
• Chapitre 7 : principe de l’adéquation qualité-but (fitness-for-purpose), conseils sur les méthodes de
réparation de structures durant leur fabrication, montage, ou de réparation de structures en service.

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4 Good design practice

Die vorliegenden Empfehlungen richten sich an Ingenieure in Planungsbüros und Stahlbaufirmen sowie an
Ingenieure, die unmittelbar an der Bauausführung beteiligt sind. Sie beziehen sich auf die Herstellung von
Tragwerken, die infolge Verkehrslasten, Wind oder anderen häufig wiederholten Einwirkungen auf
Ermüdung beansprucht werden. Es wird ein Überblick über den aktuellen Stand der Kenntnisse bezüglich
ermüdungsgerechtem Entwerfen und der Herstellung ermüdungssicherer Tragwerke gegeben.
Die Hinweise in diesem Dokument stimmen mit den derzeitigen europäischen Eurocode 3 - Vornormen für
Bemessung und Konstruktion von Stahlbauten überhein. Zudem werden Empfehlungen für die in den
Eurocodes nicht behandelte Herstellung von Tragwerken gegeben.
Dieses Dokument soll als Ratgeber für Entwurf, Herstellung oder Reparatur ermüdungsbeanspruchter
Tragwerke dienen und ist wie folgt aufgebaut :
• Kapitel 2: Grundlagen der Materialermüdung, Modellbildung von Ermüdungsbeanspruchungen und
Ermüdungsfestigkeit. Leser, die sich nur für den Entwurf und die Herstellung ermüdungssicherer
Tragwerke interessieren, können dieses Kapitel überspringen.
• Kapitel 3: Einflussfaktoren bezüglich Ermüdungsfestigkeit beim Entwurf.
• Kapitel 4 und 6: Einflussfaktoren bezüglich Ermüdungsfestigkeit bei Herstellung oder Montage.
• Kapitel 5: Nachbehandlung von Schweissnähten zur Erhöhung der Ermüdungsfestigkeit ausgewählter
• Kapitel 7: Grundlagen des fitness-for-purpose Ansatzes, Empfehlungen bezüglich Verfahren zur
Reparatur von Tragwerken während Herstellung und Montage oder im Gebrauchszustand.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 5

In the 60 and 70’s, a great deal of research was focused on the effects of repetitive loading on steel
structures such as bridges or towers. This work, as well as lessons learned from the poor performance of
some structures, has led to a better understanding of fatigue behaviour and to substantial changes in fatigue
provisions of steel structures design specifications.
It is not, however, sufficient for the design engineer to choose a fatigue resistant detail to insure fatigue
safety. The aspects related to the production of a structure are of great importance; for example, bad habits
or last minutes changes in the shop can ruin a good fatigue design. In order to produce rules and guidelines
for the general practitioner on good fatigue design practice, a working group was created in 1993 within the
framework of Technical committee 6 “Fatigue”. The work of this working group has been co-ordinated by
Mr. S. Piringer, Waagner Biro AG, Wien (A). Along with Dr. A. Nussbaumer, ICOM – Steel structures,
EPFL, Lausanne (CH), Mr. S. Piringer is the author of the present document.
Members of the Working Group were :
M. A. Hirt Switzerland
D. Kosteas Germany
J. Krampen Germany
H. P. Lieurade France
A. Nussbaumer Switzerland
S. Piringer Austria
The document was reviewed by the Technical Committee 6 and it was also reviewed by a panel of experts in
welding and fatigue. Their comments and suggestions where of great help to improve the quality of the
document. Many thanks to all of them.
Technical Committee 6 is at present composed of the following members :
H. Agerskov Denmark
B. Androic Croatia
S. Böstrom Sweden
J. Brozzetti France
Ö. Bucak Germany
C. A. Castiglioni Italy
B. Chabrolin France
P. J. Haagensen Norway
M. A. Hirt Switzerland
S. Juric Croatia
A. Kähönen Finland
K. Mach Austria
A. Nussbaumer Switzerland (Chairman)
E. Piraprez Belgium
S. Piringer Austria
T. Seeger Germany
Corresponding Members are :
B. Atzori Italy
C. W. Brown Great Britain
F. D. Fischer Austria
S. Herion Germany
H. Kolstein The Netherlands
J. Krampen Germany
S. J. Maddox Great Britain
T. Rotter Czech Republic

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6 Good design practice

G. Sedlacek Germany
D. R. Van Delft The Netherlands

Many thanks are also due to all the other persons, to numerous to mention here, who offered their
continuous encouragement and suggestions. Finally, thanks are due to Mr. S. Piringer and the Waagner Biro
AG, Wien (A) for the drafting of most of the figures and to Ms. Schumacher, ICOM – Steel structures,
EPFL, Lausanne (CH), for re-reading and correcting the text.

Lausanne, Mai 2000 Dr. Alain Nussbaumer

Figures :
Figures 3.1 and 3.2 have been graciously placed at our disposal by Prof. E. Niemi, Lappeenranta Univ. of
Technology, Finland.

This publication has been prepared at ICOM – Steel Structures, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology,
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 7

1 Motivation and Goals......................................................................................................................................8
1.1 General aims ................................................................................................................................................8
1.2 Applicability ................................................................................................................................................8
1.3 Definitions ...................................................................................................................................................8
1.4 Terminology ................................................................................................................................................9
1.5 Methods of assessment .............................................................................................................................11
2 Factors affecting Fatigue Life of Structures ................................................................................................13
2.1 Characteristics of fatigue process.............................................................................................................13
2.2 Fatigue loading ..........................................................................................................................................13
2.3 Stress and structure ...................................................................................................................................18
2.4 Material ......................................................................................................................................................21
2.5 Environment ..............................................................................................................................................23
3 Fatigue Resistant Structural Details .............................................................................................................25
3.1 General Design Strategies.........................................................................................................................25
3.2 Design of Details.......................................................................................................................................25
4 Factors Affecting Fabrication and Erection.................................................................................................33
4.1 Fabrication quality ....................................................................................................................................33
4.2 weld Execution ..........................................................................................................................................33
4.3 Control of welding ....................................................................................................................................39
5 Improvement Methods ..................................................................................................................................41
5.1 Introduction ...............................................................................................................................................41
5.2 Shape change methods..............................................................................................................................41
5.3 Residual stress methods ............................................................................................................................42
5.4 Overloading ...............................................................................................................................................42
5.5 Coatings .....................................................................................................................................................42
6 Quality Assurance .........................................................................................................................................44
6.1 General .......................................................................................................................................................44
6.2 Quality assurance testing methods ...........................................................................................................44
7 Methods for Repair........................................................................................................................................45
7.1 Fitness-for-purpose approach ...................................................................................................................45
7.2 Repair during fabrication or erection of new structures .........................................................................45
7.3 Existing structures .....................................................................................................................................46
8 Literature........................................................................................................................................................48
8.1 Fatigue literature .......................................................................................................................................48
8.2 Standards....................................................................................................................................................51
8.3 ECCS related publications........................................................................................................................53

ECCS N° 105
8 Good design practice

A good fatigue design is more than a design that follows design standards such as the Eurocodes. It must
also include the structure’s production aspects. Indeed, a bad choice during design is likely to lead to
unexpected costs during fabrication and assembly, and result in fatigue problems during service. Therefore,
it is important to give hints to the general practitioner about good fatigue design that is in conformity with
actual standards and experience.
This guideline document covers rules for the design and assessment of structures subjected to fatigue loads
induced by frequent changing actions, traffic actions, wind induced oscillations or comparable actions. The
purpose of the guideline is to supplement the design of steel structures, which are currently documented in
the following parts of Eurocode 3 (for definitions of abbreviations see Table 1.1) :
• Part 1 : Steel structures in general and buildings (EC3-1-1 [S1]).
• Part 2 : Steel bridges (EC3-2 [S2]).
• Part 3 : Towers and masts (EC3-3-1), and chimneys (EC3-3-2) [S22].
• Part 6 : Crane supporting structures (EC3-6 [S23]).
These recommendations can be applied to other types of steel structures assuming that they comply with the
rules given in Section 1.2.
During the transformation from ENV to EN, which started recently, it is the intent of CEN-TC250-SC3 to
modify the organisation of Eurocode 3 parts. All rules concerning fatigue strength, except very specific
ones, will be grouped in a new document entitled EN 1993, Part 1-9 : fatigue. The various fatigue chapters
of EC3-1-1, EC3-2, EC3-3-1, EC3-3-2 and EC3-6 will consequently disappear. However, this
reorganisation does not invalidate the guidelines given in this document. Apart from the Eurocodes, many
existing design standards or guides do exist; only a few are cited in this document [L15, L16, S4, S8, S9].
This guideline document is only applicable to steel structures. It covers the steel grades and connecting
devices listed in EC3-1-1, Sections 3.2 and 3.3. In addition, it also covers structures made out of austenitic
stainless steels. It may be used for other structural steels, provided that adequate data exist to justify the
This document is not applicable to :
• Low-cycle fatigue, that is when a few cycles cause fatigue fracture (e.g. earthquake) or, more generally,
when nominal normal stress ranges exceed 1.5 fy or nominal shear stress ranges exceed 1.5 fy/√3 (e.g.
pressure vessels, tanks or silos).
• Structures subjected to temperatures exceeding 150°C (e.g. pressure vessels, pipework).
• Structures in corrosive media (gases, liquids) other than normal atmospheric conditions.
• Structures in sea water environment (e.g. offshore structures).
• Structures subjected to single impact.
• Concrete reinforcement.
The symbols listed in Section 1.6 and 9.1.6 and definitions in Section 9.1.5 of EC3-1-1 are used [S1, S2].
The following tables (Table 1.1 and Table 1.2) as well as Section 1.4 summarise the definitions used in this

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 9

Table 1.1 : Eurocode abbreviations

Abbreviation: Equivalent to : Abbreviation: Equivalent to :
EC1-1 ENV 1991-1 : 1994 EC3-1-1 ENV 1993-1-1 : 1992
EC1-3 ENV 1991-3 : 1995 EC3-2 ENV 1993-2 : 1997
EC1-2-4 ENV 1991-2-4 : 1994 EC3-3-1 and -2 prENV 1993-3-1 and -2 : 1997
EC1-5 prENV 1991-5 : 1997 EC3-6 prENV 1993-6 : 1998

Table 1.2 : Modal words

English Definition German French
shall a strict demand; no deviation permitted muß doit
should one of some possibilities is recommended sollte devrait
may a certain solution need not be followed if other rules are also darf peut
can a physical capacity or possibility is existing kann peut

Longitudinal : Direction of the main force in the structure or detail (Fig. 1.1).
Transverse : Direction perpendicular to the direction of main force in the structure or detail
(Fig. 1.1).




Fig.1.1: Directions of the main force

Classified structural A structural element or structural detail containing a structural discontinuity (e.g. a
detail : weld) for which the nominal stress method is applied. The Eurocodes contain
classification tables, which indicate strength curves for particular elements and
Detail category : Classification of structural elements and details according to their fatigue strength.
The designation of every detail category corresponds to its fatigue strength at two
million cycles, ΔσC. Refer to the Eurocodes for a more detailed description.
S-N curve : = Fatigue strength curve = Wöhler curve. A quantitative curve relating fatigue
failure to the stress range and number of stress cycles.

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10 Good design practice

Stress range : = Maximum stress minus minimum stress (Fig. 1.2).
Mean stress : = 0,5 (maximum stress + minimum stress). See Fig. 1.2.
Defect/flaw : An unintentional stress concentrator, e.g. slag inclusions, porosity, undercut, lack of
Crack : A sharp defect for which the crack tip radius is close to zero.
Fatigue crack : A sharp defect that has become larger due to the application of fluctuating loads.

1 cycle
Stress !
Maximum stress

Stress amplitude
Mean stress range

Stress amplitude

Minimum stress


Figure 1.2 : Stress-time history

FEM : Finite element method.
Crack initiation life : = Crack nucleation time. The portion of fatigue life consumed before a crack is
Crack propagation Portion of fatigue life between crack initiation and failure (according to conventional
life : failure criterion or actual member rupture).
Stress concentrator : Any change in geometry within component that causes a concentration of applied
stresses, e.g. notch, bolt holes, welded connections, changes in sectional area.
Stress concentrator = K = Stress concentration factor. The ratio of the concentrated stress to the nominal
severity : stress (Fig. 1.3).

nominal concentrated stress,
stress, ! !t = " . !

Figure 1.3 : Example of stress concentration factor

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Good design practice 11

Hot spot A point in the structure where a fatigue crack is expected to initiate due to stress
fluctuations in the component and one or a combination of stress concentrators.
Nominal stress Stress in a component near the structural detail, resolved using simple elastic
strength of material theory, i.e. beam theory (Fig. 1.4). Influence of shear lag, or
effective widths of sections shall be taken into account. Stress concentrators and
residual stresses effects are excluded.

Nominal stress

! nom

Figure 1.4 : Nominal stress distribution in I beam with flange attachment

Modified nominal Nominal stress increased by an appropriate stress concentration factor to include the
stress : effect of an additional structural discontinuity that has not been taken into account in
the classification of a particular detail such as misalignment, hole, cope, cut-out, etc.
Geometric stress : = structural stress. Value of stress on the surface of a structural detail, which takes
into account membrane stresses, bending stress components and all stress
concentrations due to structural discontinuities, but ignoring any local notch effect
due to small discontinuities such as weld toe geometry, defects, cracks, etc.
Hot spot stress : Value of geometric stress at the weld toe used in fatigue verification. Note that the
definition of the hot spot stress, and the related design fatigue curve, is not unique.
If the structural detail corresponds to a standard structural detail, the nominal stress method is applicable.
The structural detail category and the corresponding S-N curve are then found in the Eurocode relevant to
the type of structure being assessed.
If the structural detail resembles a standard structural detail, but contains an additional stress concentrator,
the modified nominal stress method may be used. In order to do so, the stress concentration induced by the
additional stress concentrator must be known, e.g. misalignment, effect of a hole in the vicinity of a weld,
If the structural detail cannot be found in the classification tables the geometric stress method, that is the
determination of the hot spot stress, can be used in some cases. The fatigue resistance of the detail is then
determined in terms of specific S-N curves that incorporate the hot spot stress range. In the Eurocodes the
hot spot S-N curve to be used in a fatigue assessment depends on the parent material or the type and form of
the weld.

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Table 1.3 summarises the assessment methods described above. Some other methods can be applied such as
linear fracture mechanics, however these methods are more sophisticated and will not be considered in this
document (see literature, e.g. [L15, L22, L23]). Finally, fatigue testing is recommended when no S-N curves
or data are available for the structural detail to be assessed.

Table 1.3 : Summary of assessment methods

Type Stress raiser Figure Determined Assessment method

A Not considered. Problem solved using 1.4 Nominal stress Nominal stress :
simple elastic strength of material theory range
(beam theory) elementary theories of
structural mechanics
based on linear-elastic
B A + Influence of a structural 1.5 Modified Modified nominal
discontinuity not taken into account nominal stress stress :
previously, but disregarding stress range
concentration effects resulting from the same as above, but
structural detail of the welded joint. nominal stress increased
by concentration factor
(from tables, graphs or
C A + B + Influence of the structural 1.6 Hot spot stress Geometric stress :
discontinuity of the welded joint, range
including all stress raising effects of a FEM analysis commonly
structural detail in the vicinity of the applied, or parametric
joint, but excluding local stress formulae if available; in
concentrations due to the weld profile general maximum
itself. Shall be determined at the surface principal stress is used
(= hot spot) of the critical section where
fatigue crack is expected to initiate.



Stress ! Geometric stress
! along A-A
nominal stress

Figure 1.5 : Modified nominal stress in detail Figure 1.6 : Geometric stress at bar–plate
combining butt weld and hole connection

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Good design practice 13

The fatigue process can be divided into the following stages [L17, L23] :
• Crack initiation or nucleation: Under cyclic loading, microcracks—without a preferential general
direction—are initiated as a result of cyclic plastic deformation. This phenomena is accelerated by the
presence of stress concentrators, where stresses above yield occur locally on a micro-scale even under
low nominal stresses.
• Stable crack growth: The microcracks propagate and join to form a dominant propagating crack,
growing perpendicular to the principal tension stress in a stable manner. A characteristic feature of the
crack surface is a flat, smooth region surrounding the initial defect, often exhibiting beach marks. Such
beach marks are observable at a macroscopic level if the stress cycles are not of constant amplitude, but,
for example, composed of blocks of stress cycles of constant amplitude.
• Unstable crack growth: When approaching exhaustion of the load carrying capacity of the cross
section, the crack propagation rate increases exponentially until ductile or brittle fracture of the
component occurs. A rough crack surface is the characteristic feature of this stage. A large final fracture
area indicates a high maximum load, whereas a small area indicates that fracture occurred under a lower
When using the methods based on S-N curves described in Section 1.5, these three stages cannot be
distinguished. In order to make them distinguishable, fracture mechanics methods are necessary.
2.2.1 Number of load events
The designer must avoid the possibility of a decrease in the expected lifetime of the structure due to fatigue.
To do this the designer should take into account the complete sequence of service loading events throughout
the expected lifetime of the structure. Such loading events occur for example :
• On bridges : commercial vehicles, goods trains.
• On slender elements (chimneys, cables, etc.) : wind gusting.
• On crane structures : lifting, rolling, inertial loads.
The superposition of all non-permanent (fluctuating) actions, e.g. considering them as being in phase, is
essential in order to find out the highest stress ranges :
• Fluctuation in the magnitude of loads.
• Movement of loads on the structure.
• Changes in loading directions.
• Structural vibrations due to loads and dynamic response.
• Temperature fluctuations.
The magnitude of the peak loads considered in static design is high and will never occur—or only a few
times—during the life of the structure. For fatigue, this is of little concern as it only represents a few cycles
in millions and it can be assumed that plastification induced by these peak loads can be neglected.
Therefore, in the standards, the fatigue load models usually differ from the static design load models. To
derive the fatigue load models for each type of structure, effective load histories and the damage produced
by these loads have been used. The result is a load histogram, which defines a series of blocks of constant
load levels and their corresponding number of cycles, as shown in Fig. 2.1. Thus only a limited number of
different loads have to be used for fatigue design.

ECCS N° 105
14 Good design practice



n1 n2 n3 n4 n5
Number of occurrence

Figure 2.1 : Typical load histogram

The specific load cases and required lifetime of the structure—or number of cycles—corresponding to each
type of structure are given in the relevant parts of Eurocode 1 :
• Part 1 : General information (EC1-1 [S18]).
• Part 3 : Steel bridges (EC1-3 [S19]).
• Part 2.4 : Slender elements (EC1-2-4 [S20]).
• Part 5 : Crane supporting structures (EC1-5 [S21]).
In order to produce the maximum load effect, it should not be forgotten that the loads have to be amplified
often by an appropriate dynamic factor, as prescribed in the standards. For example, slender structures with
natural frequencies low enough to react to the loading frequency, may suffer dynamic stress magnification
[L15, L17].
2.2.2 Number of stress cycles Cycles

The fluctuating loads considered in fatigue design cause stress events that differ in type, number and
magnitude from component to component in the structure. For example, for a vehicle where the only loaded
axle is the rear twin axle, the primary stresses induced by the vehicle while it is crossing the bridge will be :
• In the main girder, one stress cycle per vehicle.
• In a cross girder attached to the main girders and supporting longitudinal girders, “n” stress cycles of
different magnitude per vehicle depending on the number of longitudinal girder spans acting as
continuous girders.
• In the splice of a longitudinal girder, two main stress cycles due to the twin axle and also additional
smaller cycles due to the vehicle passing over other spans of the girder.
The vehicle can also be a train, a lorry, a crane trolley, or an other moving load system with more loaded
axles resulting in more complex stress histories than described in the above example. In this case, each
component is subjected to a stress history that must be transformed into a stress histogram to perform a
fatigue assessment. The methods used for this transformation are called cycle counting methods and are
listed in the next section (Section Since cycle counting is a complicated task, simplified load
models calibrated so that only the maximum stress range produced by the model needs to be considered in
fatigue verifications can be found in Eurocode 1.
Apart from the primary induced stresses, the fluctuating loads can also induce :
• secondary stresses,
• impact stresses,
• distortions, out-of-plane deformations,
• vibrations.

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Good design practice 15

These effects - especially distortions and secondary stresses - are responsible for a large number of the
fatigue cracks found in service [L24, L25]. However, these effects are often not anticipated by the designer
and there is only little information in the standards. Experience has shown that most of these fatigue
problems can be avoided by good detailing (for which hints will be given in Chapter 3). Cycle counting methods

Several different methods of cycle counting exist ; each method being appropriate for a particular type of
stress history. For the types of structures considered in this document, the most commonly used methods -
with their range of applicability - are listed below :
A. Rainflow method: convenient for long stress histories, preferential method for use in computer
B. Reservoir method: easy to use by hand for short stress histories.
When used correctly, both methods give the same result. More information about these methods as well as
others can be found in the literature [L26, L17]. Stress spectrum

The simplest stress spectrum form is the constant amplitude stress-time history with a constant mean load
(Fig. 2.2). Such a stress spectrum is used on specimens tested in laboratories in order to produce consistent
fatigue tests results.

1 cycle
Stress !
Maximum stress

Stress amplitude
Mean stress range

Stress amplitude

Minimum stress


Figure 2.2: Constant amplitude stress-time history

The following parameters characterise a constant amplitude stress-time history :
σmax = maximum stress
σmin = minimum stress
σm = mean stress = (σmax + σmin)/2
σa = stress amplitude = (σmax - σmin)/2
Δσ = stress range = σmax - σmin = 2⋅σa
R = stress ratio = σmin /σmax
A more complex stress spectrum, e.g. a variable amplitude stress time history, is represented in Fig. 2.3.
Using a cycle counting method, such a spectrum can be converted to identifiable stress ranges using a
suitable cycle counting method (see previous section) and represented as a distribution of stress ranges
versus the number of cycles in the time period being considered. If this is further reduced to a histogram,

ECCS N° 105
16 Good design practice

any convenient number of stress interval can be used, but each block of stress cycles should be assumed,
conservatively, to experience the maximum stress range in that block (Fig. 2.4) [L22].

Stress !

stress range

stress cycle

Figure 2.3: Variable amplitude stress-time history

Stress range !"

Simplified histogram for design purposes

!"3 Actual spectrum

!"4 Block


n1 n2 n3 n4 n5
Number of cycles

Figure 2.4: Stress spectrum and corresponding histogram Palmgren-Miner’s Rule

Test results from constant amplitude loading show that a normalised S-N curve for each standardised type of
stress concentrator (detail category) can be drawn as a line in a log Δσ - log N diagram (see Fig. 2.5). For
normal stresses, the slope of the line, m, is set equal to 3 in Eurocode 3 (for convenience, the negative sign
is omitted). Under constant amplitude loading, fatigue life is infinite for stress ranges below the constant
amplitude fatigue limit (CAFL). Under variable amplitude loading, fatigue life is also infinite as long as all
stress ranges stay below the CAFL. If this is not the case, a modified S-N curve shall be used. This curve is
identical to the previous one up to the CAFL. Below the CAFL, the slope of the S-N curve becomes 5, to
simulate the damaging effects of smaller and smaller stress range cycles with increasing crack size

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 17

[L17, L19]. The variable amplitude fatigue limit, e.g. cut-off limit, is then lower than the constant amplitude
fatigue limit.

log !"

Fatigue strength curve

!"1 Constant amplitude fatigue limit (CAFL)
!"3 Cut-off limit

6 6 8
2.10 N1 N2 5.10 N3 10 log N

Figure 2.5: Normalised S-N curve

Under variable amplitude loading, the damage caused by each block of the spectrum can be defined as n/N,
where n is the actual number of cycles in a particular block during the life time and N is the endurance
(number of cycles to failure) under that stress range. For example, in Figure 2.5, under the stress range Δσ1,
the endurance is equal to N1. Under the assumption that the loading sequence has no effect on the fatigue
life, a linear damage accumulation rule, namely the Palmgren-Miner’s Rule, is then used to compute the
total damage :
n1 n 2 n
+ +......+ n ! "
N1 N 2 Nn

The above equation indicates that, for any block of the spectrum, the expression n/N should be calculated. If
the sum of damage due to all blocks is less than or equal to α, fatigue failure is prevented before the end of
the design life. α is generally set equal to one in structural engineering fatigue regulations, but since for
certain types of spectrums the linear damage accumulation rule has shown to be non-conservative, values
inferior to one may be specified in some cases in order to insure safety. To account for the loading sequence,
more complex cycle counting methods and accumulation rules can be used [L36], but these are out of the
scope of this document.
Alternatively for fatigue assessments, an equivalent constant amplitude stress range, ΔσΕ, having the same
effect—in terms of damage—as the variable amplitude spectrum can be computed using the S-N curves and
the Palmgren-Miner’s rule. For the simplified fatigue assessment procedures in the codes, the maximum
stress range produced by the loading that is used in the verification is, in fact, already a calibrated equivalent
constant amplitude stress range, and the sum of damage computations need not to be made.
2.2.3 Dynamic amplification factor
The correct dynamic factor shall be taken from the relevant standards if available; if not, a reasonable
assumption shall be made or the factor shall be evaluated through testing. It should be noted that, for the
same structure, the value of the dynamic amplification factor may differ from one limit state to another, e.g.
ultimate limit state and fatigue limit state. It should be noted that in some standards the so-called « dynamic

ECCS N° 105
18 Good design practice

amplification factor » covers more than just dynamic amplification, but also correction factors that account
for a difference between realistic loading and the loading applied to the structural model.
2.2.4 Loading rate
The loading frequency does not influence the fatigue life for frequencies up to 100 Hz, provided that steps
are taken to ensure that the temperature of the detail does not rise significantly and there are no simultaneous
corrosion effect [L26]. This is the case for the types of structures and applications considered in this
document. However, if temperatures above 100°C occur, a reduction of the fatigue strength should be
It should be noted that the rate of loading can be of importance if brittle fracture can occur. In structures or
parts of structures where high loading rates are expected, typically above 10 Hz, the best quality steels
available must be used, refer to EC3-1-1 : Section

Structures or components with high live/dead stress ratio or low category details, categories 45 to 36, that
include high stress concentrators, are the most sensitive and should be checked first to indicate the most
critical points. This check must cover any welded attachment to a member, and not just the main structural
connections, as well as additional welding performed on the structure in service.
If fatigue is the design limit state, simplicity of the details and smoothness of the stress path should be
sought [L17]. Any change in the applied stress range, e.g. change of minimum or/and maximum stress,
alters the probability of fatigue crack initiation and also the growth of existing cracks. Therefore, the
lifetime can be greatly extended by reducing the stress range (by whatever means) affecting a detail.
Taking for example the case of the ‘cruciform joint with full penetration butt weld’ detail, according to EC3
Fatigue strength curves, this is a detail category 71, which means it can sustain 2 x 106 cycles at a stress
range of 71 N/mm2. A stress range reduction of 20 % to 57 N/mm2 on this detail will result in an allowable
number of cycles of 3,9 x 106. This is nearly 2 times the original number of cycles or twice the characteristic
lifetime !
2.3.1 Analysis
A detailed computation of the structure using simple elastic strength of material theory is sufficient in most
cases. However, in cases where secondary stresses, distortions, etc., are anticipated to have a significant
influence, finite element method (FEM) analyses should be carried out in order to account for these stresses
in the fatigue assessment. Since significant experience is needed to interpret correctly the results of FEM
analyses, one should be warned not to use FEM without sufficient experience or knowledge in this domain.
Computations must be executed using an elastic model in order to get the stress ranges in the details.
In fatigue design, structural details should not be analysed using complex numerical methods, such as the
FEM, in order to deduce geometric stresses, which are afterwards classified into detail categories of
Eurocode 3. This is because the detail categories in EC3 already include stress concentration factors as they
use the nominal stress assessment method. When geometric stresses have been determined the “hot-spot
stress”-based S-N curve must be applied.
2.3.2 Detail classification
Currently, classified structural details are described in different parts of Eurocode 3. The stress
concentrations normally found in typical joints and details are included in the determination of the fatigue
strength. The fatigue assessment of such classified details is based on the nominal stress method.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 19

If a constructional detail configuration from a type of structure can be found in the tables of the relevant part
of Eurocode 3, and the description and requirements for this detail correspond, then the fatigue strength can
be derived from the standard fatigue resistance S-N curves given in EC3-1-1. Each detail category
corresponds to one S-N curve where the fatigue strength Δσ is a function of the number of cycles, N.
These fatigue curves are based on representative experimental investigations. They include the effects of :
• stress concentrations due to the detail geometry (detail severity),
• local stress concentrations due to the size and shape of weld imperfections within certain limits,
• stress direction,
• expected crack location,
• residual stresses,
• metallurgical conditions,
• welding and post-welding procedures.
Additional stress concentrations not included in the constructional detail configuration, e.g. misalignment,
large cut-out in the vicinity of the detail, have to be accounted for by the use of a stress concentration factor.
2.3.3 Determination of stresses
The value of the stress range to be considered in the design is the stress range at the location of the detail
considered (see EC3-1-1). In order to avoid low-cycle fatigue behaviour, the stress range shall not exceed
1.5 fy for nominal normal stress or 1.5 fy/ √3 for nominal shear stress. Otherwise the stress range shall be
reduced by appropriate means.
The total stress, σ tot, in a section may be treated directly, or after resolution into the four parts 1) to 4)
described below [L4, L22]. Typical schematic representations of these are given in Figure 2.6. Stresses
resulting from residual stresses and local stress concentrations due to the weld profile itself are not included

!m !t
!b !a
0 0 0 0
t t t t
Membrane stress Bending stress Additional stress Other additional
due to structural stress (misaligne-
detail ment, etc.)

Figure 2.6: Determination of stresses

The four parts composing the total stress, σ tot, are :
1) Membrane stress, σ m : The component of uniformly distributed stress which is equal to the
average value of stress across the section thickness, σ m1 = σ m2.
2) Bending stress, σ b : The component of stress due to imposed loading which varies linearly across
the section thickness, σ b1 = - σ b2.
3) Additional stress due to structural detail, σ t : The additional stress is given by the following
formulas, depending on the definition of the stress concentration factor, Kt :
" t = K t ! remote stress

ECCS N° 105
20 Good design practice

or # t = (K t " 1)! remote stress
This type of additional stress usually decays over distances greater than the section thickness.
4) Other additional stresses (misalignments, holes, etc.), σ a : The misalignment stresses are usually
predominantly bending stresses and their peak surface value can be expressed as :
# a = (K m " 1)! applied stress
where Km is the stress magnification factor (see reference [L22] for formulas). This type of
additional stress usually decays over distances greater than the section thickness. In the evaluation
of the additional stress due to misalignment, only the membrane component of the applied stress has
to be considered. If a misaligned joint is within the stress concentration field due to a structural
detail, the membrane stress has to include the peak stress due to the structural detail. Formulas for
the calculation of the secondary bending stresses due to misalignment can be found in [L22].
For holes, sharp corners, etc., the formula is the same as above except that the additional stress
value can depend on both the membrane and bending stress components. The applied stress is the
nominal stress in the gross section. This type of additional stress usually decays over distances less
than about 20 % of the hole or corner radius, or 20 % of the thickness (see reference [L27] for
formulas). If these type of peak stress effects are located within the zones of other additional
stresses, the overall effects should be multiplied together. This procedure will always give
conservative results, and a more precise evaluation requires FEM analyses of the detail.
2.3.4 Defects, flaws, imperfections
Any defect, flaw or imperfection causes a discontinuity in the stress flow [L14, L17]. For example, typical
defects/flaws in welds are : slag inclusions, porosity, cavities, and lack of fusion or penetration. Typical
imperfections are : undercut, misalignment and imperfect profiles. From the theory of notches it has been
shown that the sharper the flaw (evaluated through its radius), the higher the local increase in deformations
in the vicinity of the flaw [L20]. This theory, in combination with fatigue testing of machined specimens,
has led to the derivation of strain-life curves. These curves, different from the S-N curves obtained by
fatigue testing of specimens containing defects/flaws, can be used to evaluate the influence of a known
defect/flaw on the fatigue life of a component using :
• a fracture mechanics approach,
• an elastic notch stress range approach,
• a plastic notch stress range approach.
These approaches are sophisticated. In this document the influence of defects/flaws are considered implicitly
since the standard fatigue curves (S-N curves or hot-spot fatigue curves) depend upon both the material and
defects/flaws present, even though these defects/flaws are undetectable. That is, stress concentrations or
notch effects are not explicitly included in the described fatigue assessment methods (see Section 1.5).
2.3.5 Stress ratio
Under compressive stress, a crack is closed and therefore it cannot propagate. In real structures or full-scale
test specimens, residual stresses and other built in stresses are often present in details due to welding,
dressing, punching, lack of fit, support settlement, temperature gradients, etc. The presence of residual
stresses often results in tensile stress cycles in details even under compressive nominal stresses.
Conservatively, Eurocode 3 recommends use of a full range of stress cycles in fatigue assessments, except
for non-welded and stress relieved details as specified in Section 9.7.1 of Part 1.1. For welded details, the
influence of the stress ratio, R (defined in Section, on fatigue life is thus of no importance, apart
from some specific details treated with an improvement method (see Chapter 5).
2.3.6 Problem of lightweight structures

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 21

Lightweight structures are structures for which the permanent loads are minimised and represent only a
small portion of the variable design loads acting on the structure. In the case of lightweight structures
subjected to predominantly fluctuating loads, design against fatigue is crucial. The stress ranges in all
components are very high compared with the static stresses, and nearly all welded details, as well as other
connection types, are ruled by fatigue design categories.

All modern structural steels are iron alloys. The atomic structure of iron can either be ferritic (cubic spatial
oriented atomic grid) or austenitic (cubic with centred faces atomic grid). At room temperature, the atomic
structure of pure iron is always ferritic. The addition of certain elements to iron can favour the formation of
an austenitic structure at room temperature. Such elements are, for example, nickel, manganese and copper.
Other elements, on the contrary, favour the formation of a ferritic structure. This is the case with chromium,
molybdenum, silicon, titanium, etc. Furthermore, when carbon is added and the temperature cycle during
steel processing is controlled, a very hard microstructure, called martensitic, can be obtained at room
temperature. Although there are differences in mechanical behaviour between ferritic and austenitic steel
alloys, the general trend for fatigue design is that the rules for ferritic steels (with a ferritic and/or
martensitic structure) can be applied to welded austenitic steels (excluding environmental considerations)
For non-welded steels, the S-N curves for ferritic steels show a limiting stress, or say fatigue limit, below
which initiation of cracking does not occur ; this is not the case for austenitic steel. The fatigue limit of
ferritic steels lies normally in the 106 to 107 cycle range. In the case of small test specimens, unnotched and
polished, a correlation exists between the ultimate tensile strength of the steel, Su, and the high-cycle fatigue
strength, So :
So ≈ 0,5⋅Su

This limit corresponds to the maximum stress range that the test specimen can sustain without failing after
an unlimited number of cycles. The higher the steel grade, the better its fatigue limit and fatigue strength
under higher stress ranges (finite lifetime). For real components, however, the effects of holes, notches,
defects, and corrosion reduce the fatigue strength, by reducing the number of cycles needed to initiate a
fatigue crack. This is particularly significant, because the rate of growth of a fatigue crack is largely
independent of the tensile strength of the material. Thus, this reduction is proportional to the ultimate
strength of the material, e.g. the higher the ultimate strength, the greater the reduction. As a consequence,
the fatigue strength of high grade steel with severe notches is not higher than that of mild steel with the same
type of notches. That is, the fatigue life of joints with welds or other defects, with the exception of machined
joints, cannot be remarkably improved through the use of materials with better mechanical properties. The
more economical solution for welded structures subjected to fatigue is thus to use normal structural steel
(see following section). High strength steels are generally uneconomical except in structures with high,
predominantly static loading or when the structure’s details are treated with some improvement method. In
addition, it is emphasised that good workmanship is the most important parameter, since, irrespective of the
steel grade, it results in higher fatigue strength of the details (refer to Chapter 4).

2.4.1 Normal structural steel (“Low strength steel”, “Mild steel”)
Normal structural steel ranges from a nominal yield stress equal to 235 N/mm2 to 355 N/mm2 [S17]. In the
European material standards, these steels are described in EN 10025 [S10], EN 10113 [S11] and EN 10210

ECCS N° 105
22 Good design practice

[S12]. For welded structures subjected to fatigue, normal structural steel is often the more economical
solution, since the fatigue strength of joints with welds is independent of the static strength of the steel.
2.4.2 High strength steel
The criteria for denoting a steel grade as high strength are ambiguous. They are dependent on the country
and the industry concerned. In structural applications and according to Eurocode 3, high strength steels must
have a yield strength equal or greater than 420 N/mm² and are weldable. Satisfying these requirements are
the S420 and S460 grades according to EN 10113 [S11] and EN 10210 [S12], and S500, S550, S690, S890,
and S960 grades according to EN 10137 [S13]. These different steel grades obtain their mechanical
properties through different means such as alloy content modification or special rolling or
quenching/tempering processes. Other steels types such as stainless steels can also be considered as high
strength steels, but these are treated in another section.
In previous sections, it was said that the influence of the steel grade (ultimate strength) on the fatigue
strength of a component is only significant if no defects or other starting points for cracks exist. Examples of
components without significant defects are : plates without welds and cut with smooth edges, plates with
drilled holes (only when carefully executed), machined parts, rods and cables. In these cases, the fatigue
strength increases with increasing ultimate strength. But welded joints, especially hand welded joints, which
always contain small crack-like defects (that is, cracks growing after a very short initiation period) have a
fatigue life practically independent from the ultimate tensile strength of the parent material. In these cases, it
is useless to use high strength steel except if the detail is treated by an improvement method. Improvement
methods, described in Chapter 5, reduce the harmful effects of some types of defects on the fatigue strength
of a detail. High strength steels are the steels that can benefit the most from these methods.
2.4.3 Thermo-mechanical steel
Thermo-mechanical steels (TM steels, often called “low alloy steels”) are characterised by their fine grain
microstructure and their manufacturing process (see EN 10113, Part 3 [S11]). Both normal and high strength
steels can be produced using thermo-mechanical processing. The superiority of the TM steels comes from
their excellent toughness properties, with values higher than 50 J at -20°C (or even lower temperatures),
which result in longer allowable crack sizes in components. This means a longer crack growth period
(extended lifetime), less frequent inspection intervals and cracks that are easier to detect. Furthermore,
because of lower carbon content, preheating before welding can be reduced or even omitted in the case of
TM steels. All these aspects have a significant economic impact and make TM steels very competitive.
2.4.4 Weathering steels
Weathering Steels are steels containing 0.25 to 0.55 % of copper and 0.40 to 0.80 % of chromium (see
EN 10155 [S14]). These steels form an oxide coating until it becomes a dense layer, which protects the
underlying steel, thus giving it an improved atmospheric corrosion resistance as compared with ordinary
steels. Corrosion however never completely stops—the corrosion resistance of these steels is not automatic,
it depends upon the conditions of use. It should be noted that multipass welding of weathering steels must
only be executed with special electrodes in order for the structure to keep its improved corrosion resistance.
Rust pitting induced by weathering has been suspected to reduce the fatigue strength of components made
out of weathering steel, especially for details of the highest categories (categories 160 and 140). For this
reason, EC3-2 [S2] states conservatively that the highest detail category for weathering steels is 125. For
lower category weld details, the stress concentration effect of the corroded surface is less significant than the
weld itself, and hence the fatigue strength of weathering steel details is similar to that of uncorroded steel
details. In bridges, the use of weathering steels is a good solution and should be promoted. Typical bridge
details made out of weathering steels are as fatigue resistant as details made out of normal structural steel.
Reference L28 provides more detailed information about the use of weathering steels in bridges.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 23

2.4.5 Stainless steels
Stainless steels are, in their simplest form, ordinary steels for which a minimum of 10.5 % of chromium has
been added. In the case of structural stainless steels, the chromium content is between 17 to 19 %; moreover
these steels also contain 8 to 11 % of nickel. The new European material standard for stainless steels is
EN 10088 [S15]. The presence of chromium results in the formation of a layer of primarily chromium oxide
on the surface of the steel when it is exposed to air. This layer gives the steel its ability to resist corrosion, as
for example, atmospheric corrosion. However, the common interpretation that stainless steels are resistant to
every conceivable corrosive environment is not correct.
There are three major metallurgical families of stainless steels: martensitic, ferritic, and austenitic steels. In
structural applications, the austenitic grades of stainless steels are used predominantly. For the fatigue
design of welded structures, it has been shown [L32, L38] that the rules for ferritic steels can also be applied
to welded austenitic steels (excluding environmental considerations). Thus, the recommendations contained
in this guide are also valid for austenitic stainless steels. Austenitic stainless steels have up to 50 % higher
thermal expansion coefficient and 50 % lower thermal conductivity as compared with carbon steels. Since
higher distortions due to welding are to be expected with austenitic steels, the designer must design the
structure accordingly.
2.5.1 Corrosion effect
Severe corrosion acts like sharp notches thus considerably reducing the lifetime of the structure under
fatigue loading. Normal steel grades must therefore have adequate corrosion protection such as :
• paint,
• coating (which can further be used as a method of improvement of fatigue strength, see Section 5.4),
• cathodic protection.
Weathering steel grades, however, can be left unprotected in mild corrosive environments (acid rain is not
considered an especially severe condition) such as structures exposed to rain washing and sun drying , free
of salt, where details do not trap debris, do not stay wet for long periods of time, and are regularly
maintained. In these cases, the details can be classified into standard detail categories since slight corrosion
notches have less influence than the welding produced notches. Nevertheless, it should be emphasised that
welding in addition to excessive corrosion notches reduce severely the fatigue strength of all types of steel.
Special attention regarding corrosion protection should be given under the following circumstances :
• steel structures in marine environments (250-500 m from the sea), or subjected to salt-laden fogs,
• where run-off from de-icing salt reaches the structure and is not washed off by rain,
• where there are highly corrosive chemicals or industrial fumes in the atmosphere.

2.5.2 Temperature
The effects of temperature on the fatigue strength of a detail should be checked. Generally speaking, it has
been shown that there is no significant change in fatigue crack growth rates with low temperatures, down to
–50°C, unless brittle fracture becomes the governing propagation mode. Thus, only high quality steels
should be used in cases of exposure to low temperatures.
In this document, temperatures above 150°C are not considered, but since a reduction in the fatigue strength
can occur at temperatures exceeding 100°C, a conservative design approach is recommended. As a general
rule, it can be said that the reduction of the fatigue strength is proportional to the ratio between the elastic
modules at service and room temperature. If the elastic modulus at the service temperature is not known, the
fatigue reduction factor given in [L15] can be used :

f ( temp) = 1,1955 " 1,06 ! 10 "3 ! DEG " 0,2 ! 10 "6 ! DEG 2

ECCS N° 105
24 Good design practice

Where DEG is the temperature in Celsius. More guidance can be found in various codes and standards.
2.5.3 Aggressive media
Adequate corrosion protection as defined above may not always be sufficient for larger cracks. Once a crack
has initiated and propagated to become a surface crack, it is in direct contact with the environment. In the
presence of aggressive media, the crack can result in high reductions in the fatigue strength and life. A
general guideline for this situation is not available. More guidance can be found in offshore structures codes,
e.g. S25, S26, L22. As a last resort, tests should be carried out when media is thought to be aggressive.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 25

3.1.1 Infinite Life Design
In this design approach, all relevant fatigue actions should be less than the fatigue endurance limit or, in a
fracture mechanics assessment, the threshold stress intensity factor.. The requirements resulting from this
design strategy are given in EC3-1-1, Paragraph 9.1.4 in terms of a stress range or stress cycles limit. A high
survival probability can be expected from structures designed in this way and no regular fatigue monitoring
needs to be specified.
3.1.1 Safe life design
This method is based on the calculation of damage during the structure’s design life using standard lower
bound strength data and an upper bound estimate of fatigue loading. This will provide a conservative
estimate of fatigue life, longer than the design life. Structures designed this way have a high survival
probability, however, lower than those designed for infinite life design, and no regular fatigue monitoring
needs to be specified.
3.1.2 Fail Safe Design
This type of design strategy can be applied only to redundant structural details, which means statically
indeterminate structures (internally and/or externally). In case of a component failure, a redistribution of
forces occurs resulting in a prolonged lifetime. The failure may then be detected and the structure repaired.
In this design, there is a significant probability of failure of a component. The failure probability of the
whole structure is, however, very low assuming that the structure is regularly inspected and has proper
maintenance procedures.
3.1.3 Damage Tolerant Design
In damage tolerant design it is assumed that cracks that are big enough for detection with non-destructive
testing method can be present in the structure. Since it is difficult to detect small cracks, the use of highly
crack tolerant, i.e. tough materials, is recommended. The lifetime of the structure can be computed using
probabilistic fracture mechanics methods, thus allowing for determination of inspection intervals. The
inspection intervals are a function of the level of failure probability considered. Since the consequence of
failure is included in the analysis, this design strategy can be applied to both redundant and non-redundant
structures, which is not the case with a fail safe design. Once a crack is detected, a decision is taken. The
influence of the decision on the failure probability can be modelled by updating the probabilistic fracture
mechanics model used. Examples of decisions are (non-exhaustive list) : to take no action at all, to increase
inspection intervals, to repair the crack, to change the component.
3.2.1 General observations
Fatigue loaded structures should be designed with the aim of avoiding severe stress concentration details
[L3, L21, L26]. Stress concentrations depend on the shape of the component and on the manufacturing
process. They occur at corners, loading positions, abrupt section changes, etc. (refer to Fig. 3.1). In many
cases, they can be avoided or their negative effects reduced through adequate design, as shown in Figs. 3.1
and 3.2. Moreover, designers should avoid structural discontinuities—such as welds—in highly stressed
Good fatigue resistant design includes the following precautions :
• Change detail from a welded to a bolted shear connection.
• Put details in zones near the neutral axis.

ECCS N° 105
26 Good design practice

• Design details where bending moment is minimised, for instance by avoiding misalignment or offset,
which causes secondary bending stresses (example : converging axes of truss diagonals and chords).
• Avoid the combination of several stress concentrations in the same region, like welds in zones affected
by holes (Fig. 3.2), tapering, attachments, etc., as this increases further the stress concentration factor.
• Specify full penetration welds in all highly loaded joints.
• Put details in regions where the mean stress is compressive.
• Do not hesitate to avoid using a stiffener, except at supports, if the self-weight increase of the panel
without stiffeners is only 10 to 15 % more than the weight of the original stiffened panel (web and
flanges) ; this design will, in the end, be more economical and fatigue resistant.
• Ensure that support stiffeners are at the axes of the supports.

Improved solution

1:4 to 1:5

1:4 to 1:5 1:4 to 1:5

Figure 3.1: Ways of improving the design by reducing the structural stress concentrations [L21]

Improved solution

Figure 3.2: Improving the design by moving the weld outside the stress concentration area [L21]

When considering the local geometry of welds, it should be noted that high local stress peaks are essentially
produced by non-smooth transitions between the plate surface and the weld flank (refer to Fig. 3.1). In the
case of transverse joints, high local peak stresses can also result from large joint widths (see Fig 3.5). For
longitudinal joints, the start-stop points due to the welding process are always sites of local stress peaks and
therefore possible crack initiation sites. Local stress peaks also occur at notches in gas cut plates (drag
lines). These local notches can remain even after a gas cut plate has been welded to another member, for
example, in the gap between longitudinal fillet welds in a web to flange joint (refer to figure 4.1b).
3.2.2 Parts welded longitudinally or transverse to stress direction Non-load-carrying parts

It can be seen in the classification tables in EC3-1-1 [S1] or in [S2, L15, L16] that (non-load-carrying)
attachments should be connected by a weld transverse to the force flow rather than by a weld parallel to the
force flow, as shown in Fig. 3.3. This is because the deflection of the stress lines is smaller if a short

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 27

distance between start and end of the stress deflection exists. The length of a longitudinal attachment (the
longest dimension parallel to the force flow) should be not exceed 50 mm to be classified in the best detail
category [S1, S9, L15, L16].


Figure 3.3: Non-load carrying attachments

For vertical T stiffener connections on the bottom flange, for example in bridge girders, the stiffener flange
should be cut according to Fig. 3.4.


> 80 mm t

a) Rolled T stiffener


> 100 mm t

B > 20 mm
b) Built-up T stiffener

Figure 3.4: Connection of a vertical T stiffener on bottom flange

For transverse joints, the overall joint width should be minimised as much as possible, for example, by using
partial penetration welds instead of fillet welds when multi-pass welds are needed (refer to Fig. 3.5).

ECCS N° 105
28 Good design practice

For longitudinal attachments, significant improvement in the fatigue strength can be achieved by shaping the
ends of the gusset and grinding properly the weld toe as well, see Section 3.2.6.


L <L

Figure 3.5: Minimisation of transverse joint width Load carrying parts

Load carrying fillet and partial penetration welds should be classified in class 36 of EC3-1-1 [S1]. To ensure
equal probability of failure from the weld toe or the weld root, the following criteria should be applied [L33]
(refer also to Fig. 3.6) :
• For fillet welds, the weld leg length should be at least 1,2 times the plate thickness of the loaded plate.
• For partial penetration welds, the total weld throat size (of both welds) should be at least 1,7 times the
plate thickness of the loaded plate.

> 1.7/2 t
> 1.2 t
t t

a) Fillet welds b) Partial penetration welds

Figure 3.6: Load carrying parts

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 29

3.2.3 Cover plates
Cover plates are generally used for the strengthening of flanges.
To avoid corrosion problems and achieve better fatigue resistance,
cover plates on beams and plate girders should be designed with
end welds (see EC3-1-1 and EC3-2, Table 9.8.5). The width of the
cover plate should be less than the width of the flange. If the
thickness of the cover plate is more than the thickness of the
flange, the ends of the cover plate should be tapered at a slope of Slope 1:4
1/4 (Fig. 3.7). Cover plate ends can also be tapered in width for a
smoother stress transition, but no increase in the detail category
can be made for the improved shape. Since cover plates have a
low fatigue strength [L13], it is recommended not to use cover Figure 3.7: Cover plate tapering
plates if possible, but instead, plates of varying thickness.
When strengthening a structure, the cover plates should be
designed in the following way :
The end of the cover plate should not be welded on its ends but
connected with HSFG bolts (Fig. 3.8). The number of bolts is to
be calculated according the actual force in the cover plate. The
fillet welds along the sides of the cover plate should be executed
with equal thickness and drawn up to the last bolt line, but not
further. The end of the plate shall not be welded. Warning : This bolts
type of connection does not conform to [S2] and [S3].
Fig.3.8: Cover plate with HSFG bolts

3.2.4 Welding near plate edges
Free edges of plates should be kept free of welding if
possible. Weld ends should be distanced at least 10 mm
from an edge to avoid local stress concentrations (Fig. 3.9)
and edge defects induced by welding. See EC3-1-1,
Table 9.8.3 and 9.8.4 [S1]. Welds may, however, be placed
not less
closer to free edges as they have been shown not to reduce
than 10 mm
fatigue strength as long as they are well executed with, in
particular, no undercut. These welds shall be controlled
and any edge defects shall be ground to result in a smooth Figure 3.9: Welding near plate edges

3.2.5 Lap joints Single lap joints

Unsymmetric overlapping joints (one shear plane, without additional elements to stiffen the joint) should be
avoided whenever possible. This type of joint is not permitted in components of bridge structures subject to
fatigue (Fig. 3.10). The reason is the non-negligible bending stresses that occur in addition to the normal
stresses. The fillet welds have the tendency to peel off from the plate due to stresses perpendicular to the
plate surface. [S2, S9].

ECCS N° 105
30 Good design practice Double lap joints

Such joints should be avoided due to their low fatigue category and also because efficient protection against
corrosion of these joints is very difficult or impossible to ensure (see Figure 3.10).


protection !

a) Single lap joints b) Double lap joints

Figure 3.10: Lap joints

3.2.6 Transition corners
Transition corners should be as smooth as possible and have the largest possible radius. The ends of gusset
plates welded on or to the edge of a plate can be shaped so as to create transition corners thus reducing stress
concentration and eliminating weld toe defects. Transition corners should be built up by welding prior to
grinding and including the weld toe in the final radius (see Fig. 3.11). The minimum radius to which
transition corners can be applied (in order to achieve significant fatigue strength improvement) is 15 mm
[L33]. In the case of a gusset welded to the edge of a plate, the best detail category is obtained if the radius
is larger than 1/3 of the width of the flange or plate. See EC3-1-1, Table 9.8.4 [S1].

Corner built up by
Ensure smooth transition between
welding prior to full penetration and fillet welds
grinding including
weld toe Radius r

Grinding extension
K K Preferred
Plate width w

20 mm
Corner built up by Weld type, see above
welding prior to
grinding including
weld toe
Radius r

Plate thickness t

Figure 3.11 : Rounding of corners Figure 3.12 : Notches in I-beams

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 31

Notches in rolled I-beams should be rounded in such a way that the straight edges will be tangent to the
rounding radius, but not radial running to the centre of the rounding circle (Fig.3.12) [L12]. Gas cut corners
should be ground to eliminate surface defects (drag lines); grinding should be extended 20 mm beyond the
ends of the transition radius.
3.2.7 Bolted connections
Bolted connections in fatigue loaded structures should be executed either with fitted bolts or with HSFG
bolts (preloaded bolts). Bolted connections - especially if the bolts are in tension - should be designed to
avoid the occurrence of prying forces. Bolts loaded in tension shall be fully preloaded [S1]. Compared to
tension connections, shear connections are less susceptible to fatigue, especially when the forces are always
acting in the same direction. Thus, in the case of shear connections with forces always acting in the same
direction, normal bolts may also be used.
Care should be taken with preloaded bolt connections where the total thickness of the assembled plates is
less than 40 mm since a significant loss in pretension may occur with time. These connections should be
regularly inspected. Moreover, the application of zinc paint as corrosion protection before connection of the
plates is not advised, because it results in an increased loss in pretension.
3.2.8 Cables and anchoring of cables
Cables are understood in this document to be elements made out of cold drawn steel (high strength grade)
and able to take tension forces only. Any compression force will reduce tension and thus result in increasing
sag and slackening of the element. Since fluctuating loads on cables only produce tension stresses, the stress
ratio R is positive in any case.
As it is laid down in Section 2.4.2, any defect like a notch or crack has a major influence on the fatigue
strength, especially in the case of high strength steels used for wires of cables Therefore, it is essential to
avoid any factor that may cause such defects. Pressure on cables from sharp edges, tools or similar during
erection also has to be prevented by means of constructional detailing (sufficient rounding of anchorage,
sockets, saddles, clamps) or appropriate tools. Special care should be given when lifting and dragging or
hauling cables not to demolish the smooth wire surface of the strands.
Furthermore, special care is needed with respect to the socket filling process. In many cases the zinc coated
wires are cleaned by aggressive acids before being placed into the socket and cast. If spots of such acid are
not washed away, especially in the socket neck, this will cause rusting and corrosion notches. The socket
outlet region of the strands should be therefore examined very carefully. Nevertheless, adequate corrosion
protection must be applied and maintained over the total length of the cable.
Defects of cable wires cannot be repaired in most cases. As one wire in a cable is a very small part of the
whole cross section, rupture of one wire weakens the total strength of the cable by only a small percentage.
However, it is postulated that no chain reaction of ruptures occurs, and that the force of the broken wire can
be transmitted to the surrounding wires by friction. In the case where more than one wire is ruptured, the
entire cable strand must be replaced [S2].
3.2.9 Tie rods and prestressing rods
Tie rods and prestressing rods are designed to carry tension forces only. If compression forces are acting, the
total effective tension is reduced. Due to the stiffness of such elements, compression forces can be resisted
as long as no buckling occurs. For fatigue design, the principles that were presented in the previous section
on cables should be also followed for rods.
For rods with threaded parts, the threads shall be milled and not cut-out. Prying effects should be avoided in
rods as bending causes additional stress variations especially in fatigue critical zones. Rods should be loaded
axially and not eccentrically.

ECCS N° 105
32 Good design practice

3.2.10 Orthotropic decks
The plates used in orthotropic decks should not be thin nor too slender to avoid fatigue problems. Stiffness
criteria to avoid fatigue cracking are given in EC3-2, Annex G [S2]. More information can also be found in
a recent guide for detailing orthotropic decks written for the German Ministry of Transport [L39].
3.2.11 Hollow Section Structures
For structures or parts of structures made from hollow sections, for example trusses, special literature exists.
CIDECT (Comité International pour le Développement et l’Etude des Constructions Tubulaires) has
produced a series of design guides. A new guide for designing hollow sections joints under fatigue loading
(Guide N° 8) is in preparation, see reference [L40] for more information.
A summary of the most classical hollow section joints and their detail categories can be found in the tables
of EC3-1-1. Special care should be taken to the welding procedures and sequence of welding, to preheating
and fitting tolerances. In these joints, the stress concentration factor is mainly due to geometry, not to weld
notch effects. Full penetration welds should be executed preferably, however these can result in fabrication
and inspection difficulties. For example, cutting an elliptical opening in a hollow section in order to allow
access to the inside to facilitate welding and inspection of the but welds, and closing this opening with a
weld after fabrication is complete, can result in poor fatigue resistance.
In cases where fillet welds are used, the weld size shall be equal to the wall size of the attached elements.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 33

Welds should meet the requirements of the different parts of Eurocode 3 (the chapters concerning fatigue,
information found in the detail category tables) or of existing guides on quality levels for various features
(defects, flaws, imperfections), for example EN 25817 for arc-welded joints in steel [S24]. Any fault in
workmanship may potentially reduce the fatigue strength of a detail. Good workmanship, on the contrary,
will result in an increase in the fatigue strength, often above the characteristic S-N curves given in the codes.
These curves correspond to lower bound test results obtained from average fabrication quality details. Even
though good workmanship cannot be quantified in order to be used in fatigue assessments—S-N curves
refer to failure from undetectable defects/flaws⎯it can be considered a welcome supplementary safety
The good workmanship criteria, however, on which the weld quality specifications of the codes and
standards are based are sometimes not directly related to the effect of the feature specified on fatigue
strength (or any other strength criteria) [L33].
Faults in workmanship proven to be detrimental to fatigue strength include the following [L21, L26] :
• Weld spatter.
• Accidental arc strikes.
• Unauthorised attachments.
• Corrosion pitting.
• Weld flaws, particularly in transverse butt welds.
• Poor fit-up.
• Notches, sharp edges.
• Eccentricity and misalignment.
• Distortion.
These workmanship faults should be eliminated through continual education of the welders, their superiors
and adequate inspection.
As some of the weld requirements may be irrelevant to fatigue, or indeed insufficiently stringent to meet the
fatigue strength represented by the relevant fatigue design S-N curves, an approach for quantifying the
consequences of not meeting the requirements from the codes exists. The approach is called fitness-for-
purpose and is described in section 7.1.
4.2.1 General observations
The execution of welding should follow Eurocode 3 and ENV 1090 - execution of steel structures - rules.
Part 1 of ENV 1090 [S16] covers both general rules and rules for buildings, but does not cover steel
structures susceptible to fatigue. Hence, execution requirements for welding of runway beams and elements
of buildings that support cranes are not covered. For welds subjected to fatigue, Part 5 of ENV 1090 covers
requirements for the weld execution of bridges and, by extension, all steel structures susceptible to fatigue.
In all cases the following principles are deemed as minimum standards [L16] :
• Butt welds with partial penetration (as opposed to full penetration welds) shall be treated as fillet welds.
• In butt welds, welds smaller than the plate thickness are not advised.
• Leg size of fillet welds should not vary by more than 10 % along the weld length.
• Transverse butt welds may have concavity of weld surface if:
- length of concavity in weld direction is not longer than plate thickness, t,

ECCS N° 105
34 Good design practice

- depth of concavity is not more than 0,1 t,
- remaining weld thickness is not less than t.
• Undercut:
- for transverse welds : visible undercut not permitted for detail categories higher than 56. For detail
categories not more than 56, depth of undercut shall not exceed 0,05 t or 0,5 mm.
- for longitudinal welds : undercut depth shall not exceed 0,1 t or 1 mm.
• Depth of slag inclusions appearing at weld surface should be treated like undercut. Size of hidden slag
inclusions should not exceed double size of permitted undercut depth. Clear distance between inclusions
should be not less than nine times the size of the longest inclusion.
• Cracks detected by non destructive testing (NDT) methods are not advised and must either be shown to
be harmless by a fitness-for-purpose assessment or be repaired (refer to Chapter 7).
• Lack of fusion in full penetration butt welds is not advised.
• Small, distributed gas pores can be left without assessment or reparation, providing that the maximum
diameter of the largest pore does not exceed 0,25 t or 3 mm, and that the conditions in Table 4.1 are
observed [L16].

Table 4.1: Limitations in pore sizes

Detail category Max. % of projected surface area
below 71 5%
71 – 90 3%
above 90 Gas inclusions not permitted

Weld execution is verified using NDT methods. Different methods exist; these methods are described
briefly in Section 4.3.
4.2.2 Drag lines in gas cut material
As drag lines in gas cut edges with depth exceeding 0,3 mm reduce the fatigue strength, they shall be ground
to result in a smooth transition (Fig. 4.1a). Drag line flaws shall not be filled up with weld material without
reconsidering a new detail category [S9].
Drag lines can remain even after a gas cut plate has been welded to another member. In case of severe drag
lines, a reduction of the original fatigue strength of the detail is possible. A typical example is the web to
flange joint made with longitudinal fillet welds (Fig 4.1b).

Drag lines
Remaining drag lines
a) Plate b) Web to flange joint

Figure 4.1:Drag lines in gas cut material

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 35

4.2.3 Stop/start positions of welds
Start-stop positions of continuous welds are only permitted
if such points are melted and sealed correctly at new start
(Fig. 4.2) [S9]. Start-stop positions are to be avoided in
high stress concentration zones, for example ends of
longitudinal attachments.
Positions to be
melted and sealed

Fig.4.2: Stop/start positions of welds
4.2.4 Cope holes
Cope holes, also called mouse holes, are often used in web to flange joints. This detail has been shown to
result in a reduction in fatigue strength when the loading produces significant shear as well as bending stress
[L33]. Therefore, this detail can be used in slender beams (L/h > 12) subjected to bending, but should be
avoided in beams with significant shear. Also, the cope hole radius should be made as small as possible.
Refer to [L15] for more information.
Generally speaking, cope holes in highly stressed regions such as longitudinal fillet or butt welds should be
avoided if possible, since start-stop positions are needed and often become points of crack initiation.
Moreover, good quality corrosion protection cannot be achieved in cope holes. Current knowledge shows
that weld crossings resulting from the suppression of copes holes may contain welding flaws, but that such
joints are relatively tolerant to embedded flaws and that adequate welding quality can be produced without
cope holes.
4.2.5 Backing strips
Backing strips are often used for butt welds, especially in hollow section joints, and can be classified into
two groups according to their direction :
1. Transverse running butt welds with backing strips: where possible, removable backing strips should be
used, i.e. made out of ceramics or a similar material (Fig. 4.3a). Copper backing strips can reduce the
fatigue strength, because during a long lasting welding procedure the copper may intrude into the base
material. Alternatively, permanent steel backing strips should be used.
2. Longitudinal running backing strips: removable or permanent (steel) backing strips can be used. With
permanent backing strips, problems can be encountered when the length of the weld is greater than the
length of one backing strip. Indeed, two backing strips should be joined with full penetration butt welds
in order to avoid a lack of penetration and the risk of cracking when welding over the space between
backing strips [L33]. When properly used, permanent strips have a negligible effect on fatigue strength.
Even though some codes require a tight fit-up between backing bars and the plates joined, it has been shown
that this is not necessary [L33]. The positioning tack welds and fillet weld between backing strip and base
plate should lie within the butt weld (see Fig. 4.3b). Sealing welds executed on the backing bar are to be
avoided and sealing should be done using coatings.

tack weld executed before welding

a) Removable backing strip b) Steel backing strip

Figure 4.3: Backing strips

ECCS N° 105
36 Good design practice

4.2.6 Changes in width or thickness
Plates with changes in width or thickness (Fig. 4.4) should be tapered with a slope not greater than 1:4 as
indicated in EC3-1-1, Table 9.8.3 [S1].


1:4 1:4

Figure 4.4 : Changes in plate width or thickness

4.2.7 Crossing of welds
Crossing of welds is allowed and even recommended for suppressing cope holes in highly stressed regions
(refer to Section 4.2.4). Start-stop positions at weld crossings is not advised.
In the case of an attachment onto a beam, the attached part should be either fitted tightly to the first weld
(Fig. 4.5a and 4.5b) or a circular cut-out should be made (Fig. 4.5c). The radius of the cut-out should be as
large as possible, minimum 35 mm, (the thicker the attached plate, the larger the radius) in order to enable
continuous welding. Fitting between the plates is recommended for thick attachments.

tst fitted R

a) View of attachment b) 1st solution c) 2nd solution

Figure 4.5: Crossing of welds for attachments

4.2.8 Fit of stiffeners
In order to have an economical detail and a better detail category for details attached to girder flanges, the
welds between the stiffeners and the flange (Fig. 4.5a) can sometimes be avoided if the end of the stiffener
is fitted to the flange (Fig. 4.6a). Another method uses a fitting plate between the stiffener and flange, fixed
to the stiffener, but not to the flange (Fig. 4.6b). These solutions are only valid for double-sided stiffeners.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 37

fitted, no weld fitted, no weld

a) Directly to the flange b) With intermediate fitting plate
Figure 4.6: Fit of stiffeners

For one-sided stiffeners and where the contact between flange and stiffener is not needed, for example if the
stiffener is only provided to avoid web buckling, a gap length of 4 times the web thickness or 60 mm, the
lesser of the two, should be left between the stiffener end and the flange (Fig. 4.7) [S9, L29].

t < 4t

Figure 4.7: Stiffeners with gap

4.2.9 Welds made from one side only
Fillet welds made from one side should be executed in such a way to minimise lack of fusion—a minimum
of 80% fusion should be ensured (Fig. 4.8a). Partial penetration should be avoided whenever possible
(Fig. 4.8b). On the other hand, sagging of the root must be also avoided (Fig. 4.8c). If possible, a removable
or permanent backing strip should be used [S9], see Section 4.2.5. The same goes for single side butt welds
without backing strips; they should be avoided due to the asymmetry of the stress flow and presence of a
sharp notch (Fig. 4.9) [S9]. Refer also to guidelines in [L39].

a) recommended

avoid avoid
b) c)

Figure 4.8: Example of fillet welds welded from one side due to trapezoidal stiffener

ECCS N° 105
38 Good design practice


Figure 4.9: Example of single side butt welds between two plates or hollow sections

4.2.10 Minimisation of residual stresses
Constraints in fixed parts of the structure cause residual stresses. It is one of the most important tasks of the
designer to minimise as much as possible all shrinkage obstacles. Guidelines are given for example in
reference [S9], Section 5.2.
In this respect, structures should be designed as flexible as possible, with a low degree of indeterminacy.
The welding procedure should be planned carefully regarding sequence and direction of runs, preheating,
tack welds, counter-curving and pre-setting. Only the minimum thickness of the welds necessary for
ultimate limit state or serviceability should be executed to avoid excessive shrinkage. However, it must be
noted that a minimum weld size dependent on the thickness of the parts to be welded is required due to the
thermal flow [S9]. Special care should be taken when austenitic steels are used.
4.2.11 Weld pre-preparation by machining
Weld edge pre-preparation by grinding or machining brings no increase in the detail category as this zone is
remelted during welding. Simple gas cutting by hand or machine is sufficient [S9].
4.2.12 Weld run-on/off pieces
The use of run-on and run-off pieces is required if the static design relies on the full strength of the weld
over the full thickness and length of the elements being joined together. This should be extended to all
elements susceptible to fatigue since these pieces secure smooth endings of weld. The removal of run-on
and run-off pieces is to be executed carefully. These are to be cut off after welding and the remaining plate
edges ground flush.
4.2.13 Mechanical damages
Special attention should be given to damage caused
by careless handling during fabrication, transport
and erection. All notches caused by transport Ignition prints
not permitted
chains, by marking, hammer blows, etc. shall be
removed by grinding in fatigue critical zones. As Notch by chain
general rule, no ignition prints or spatters of not permitted
electrodes are permitted on components (Fig. 4.10)
Figure 4.10: Examples of mechanical damages

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 39

4.2.14 Erection devices
Erection devices and details like ears, holes, Temporary lifting ear
welded attachments, and tack welds should be
treated as important as the permanent structural
details (Fig. 4.11). With every case the engineer
shall be informed of the proposed devices and
shall approve them before fabrication.
Such devices shall be categorised according to
Eurocode 3 if they are not removed after
erection. If they have to be removed after
erection, due care shall be used. Whenever
Figure 4.11: Example of erection device
possible, they are to be cut off after erection of
the element and the remaining plate edges ground flush. The removed device locations shall be examined
for cracks and any other surface defects. Those found should be repaired keeping in mind the guidelines in
Chapter 7.
Cases where part of the device remains shall be investigated according to the detail categories of
Eurocode 3.
All the same, holes drilled in elements during
erection as well as misplaced holes can cause
problems if they are filled with weld material
(Fig. 4.12). Recommendations given in Section 7.2,
repair during fabrication or erection of new
structures, should be followed. No welding of holes
if not re-categorised!

Figure 4.12: Fill up of holes

Control of welding is performed with various techniques using the properties of magnetic materials,
penetrating dyes, radiography or ultrasounds. Each technique is described below. It should be noted that the
technique using Eddy currents cannot be applied to steel structures, as it is only valid on non-ferrous
conducting materials (aluminum, titanium). The techniques, generally more than one, to be used depend
upon the type of welded joint. For fillet welds, a complete control should include: a visual test, dimensional
measurements, a magnetic test and a ultrasonic test.
4.3.1 Visual Test (VT)
Visual testing implies careful inspection of the welded surface and surrounding zones in order to detect all
visible flaws, discontinuities, corrosion marks, big cracks, surface porosity, weld splatter etc. For better
results, good lighting and a magnifying glass (from 2 - 10 x magnification) should be used.
The results of inspection should be recorded by writing and, in some cases, by micro-photography.
4.3.2 Magnetic Test (MT)
Magnetic particle testing requires application of a magnetic sensitive media on the detail, then subjecting the
detail to a magnetic field and looking for field anomalies. This method can only be applied to ferrous
materials. With this method, cracks and pores at the weld surface (with AC or DC current) or up to 2 mm in

ECCS N° 105
40 Good design practice

depth (only with an AC current) can be detected but not the ones located in the depth of the material. The
minimum detectable size of flaw depends markedly on the surface conditions.
The results of testing should be recorded by writing.
4.3.3 Dye penetration Test (PT)
Dye penetration testing involves applying a dye to the detail that penetrates into the flaws, carefully wiping
off surplus dye from the examination zone surface, then either applying developer powder that soaks dye
from flaws, or using a UV lamp to detect fluorescent penetrated locations. Only surface defects can be seen
with this method, but it is applicable to all non-porous materials, such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Detectable flaw sizes are similar to the MT method and also depend markedly on the surface conditions.
The results of testing should be recorded by writing. As surface discontinuities are decisive for fatigue
lifetime, VT, MT and PT are very important NDT methods.
4.3.4 Radiographic Test (RT)
Radiographic methods involve placing a source of X-rays or gamma-rays on one side of the detail and a
photographic film on the other side, thereby getting a 2D picture of the internal structure. One important
difference between these two methods is that the X-rays source is an electrical machine whereas the gamma-
rays source is a radioactive substance. They both are used to detect volumetric defects inside the material.
The limitations are their poor ability to detect tight cracks, small cracks and other planar defects lying at an
angle to the radiation beam. As the contrast between parent material and defects diminishes with thickness,
these methods cannot be used for thick plates. Considering cost, portability, reliability, they should not be
used on steel welds thicker than about 30 mm. Some difficulties, especially on site work, arise from the use
of ionising radiation sources. This requires special safety precautions such as : lead shielding, warning signs,
barrier around the working area, radiation monitoring devices, etc.
After testing, the results recorded on a photographic film can be compared to reference records. The film
must be placed directly on the plate or weld surface whereas the radiation source can be located at some
distance from the detail.
4.3.5 Ultrasonic Test (UT)
Ultrasonic testing is done by sending a beam of ultrasound in the detail using a small probe (the transducer)
coupled to the surface by a layer of liquid. The pulse of the ultrasound reflected back from flaws or surfaces
is picked up by the same probe and displayed on an oscilloscope screen. Different probes exist, but not all
types of weld geometry can be examined with UT. Ultrasonic testing is used to detect planar defects inside
the material ; it is less efficient in detecting volumetric defects because of the dispersion in the reflected
ultrasound. For thin plates, thickness below ca. 10 mm, this test gives poor results. Application of UT
requires experience in interpreting the oscillogram screen display. The surface of the plate or weld where the
transducer is to be placed has to be prepared (cleaned or ground). Ultrasonic inspection of austenitic steels
welds is more difficult compared to other steel welds, because of the microstructure of such welds.
In most case, the results are documented by writing.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 41

An improvement method is a procedure that extends the fatigue life of a welded joint without changing the
applied stresses and without changing the overall joint geometry or shape.
Apart from some other very special methods, the improvement methods for welded structures can be
separated into two main groups :
A) Methods that smoothen the weld bead-base plate transition and eliminate surface defects, either by
removal (shape change methods) or addition (coatings) of material. The primary goal of these methods is
to reduce the local stress concentrations in the detail.
B) Methods that change tensile residual stresses into compressive stresses in the superficial layer and, to a
limited extent, change the shape of the weld bead-base plate transition. These methods are most efficient
in modifying the effective stress ratio to which the detail is subjected.
The beneficial influence of the improvement methods is strongly dependent on the method of application,
quality control and fatigue loads applied to the welded detail. The nominal stress spectrum must not contain
stress ranges nor peak stresses in tension or compression exceeding the nominal yield stress of the steel
(Δσmax < fy and σmax < fy). Improvement methods are the most efficient for details with high local stress
concentrations and details in the low stress range / high cycle region. The most efficient method is, however,
dependent on the type of welded joint. In general, such methods are only effective on surface notches, not
for internal defects, e.g. only the improvement of weld toes is possible. Considering the major effects
affecting the fatigue life of welded joints, as listed in Chapters 3 and 4, details may be categorised as
• Load-carrying attachments.
• Non load-carrying attachments :
- Attached in the longitudinal direction.
- Attached in the transverse direction.
Generally it can be said that fatigue failure starts :
- From the toe of a non-load carrying weld.
- From the root of a load carrying weld.
Another influence factor is the weld size. A detail will most likely suffer from :
- Toe cracks with large weld dimensions including full penetration welds.
- Root failures with small weld dimensions.
Therefore, improvement methods will primarily be applied to medium to large non-load carrying
attachments. A general rule is that improvement methods shall not be used to compensate for bad design or
poor workmanship. Improving the fatigue strength of welded joints may be of economical interest in special
cases. Improvement methods should be considered in cases where a large number of similar or equal
fabrication details or methods are to be used and where adequate quality control can be insured. An
improvement is especially effective in the case of details made out of high strength steels.
Shape changing methods are [L1] :
• Grinding. Machining process which removes material (depth 0.5 to 0.8 mm) at the weld toe using a disk
grinder or a rotary burr grinder.
• TIG or plasma dressing. Process of remelting weld toe using a tungsten inert gas (TIG) or a plasma
Shape changing methods alter the initial defect characteristics and the stress concentration by removal of
material. They are best for welds where the majority of the fatigue life is expended for growing cracks from

ECCS N° 105
42 Good design practice

their initial size up to 1 mm deep, and are suitable for all stress range levels. These methods require good
access to the detail with hand-operated machining devices. the methods may expose internal defects, thus
making them more severe, and may cause tensile surface stresses. Quality control of the methods can be
done by visual inspection to insure that the original weld toe has been removed and by comparison of the
new toe with reference mouldings of weld shape.
In case of grinding only traces in direction of stress flow are permitted. For grinding and TIG dressing, a
method of application is given in [L37].
Methods to relieve the residual stresses, and which sometimes even produce compressive stresses at the hot
spot are :
• Prior overloading (see next section)
• Post welding heat treatment, stress relief of welds (especially for TM-steel)
• Shot peening. Cold-working process which consist of striking the surface of the component, usually
with a high velocity stream of metal or glass particles.
• Hammering (peening). Cold-working process which consist of striking the surface of the component
with a tool which can be a pneumatic or an ultrasonic hammer.
Residual stress methods lower the effective stress ratio R (minimum stress / maximum stress). These
methods are more efficient on high yield strength steels. An uncontrolled application of one of these
methods can cause cracking. These methods are only appropriate to high cycle fatigue (which is equivalent
to low stress range), because they loose their efficiency under high stress ranges and can even become non-
favourable. Quality control of the methods is more difficult than for shape change methods. It involves
visual inspection to check the uniformity of the treatment and the coverage rate (full removal of marking
media deposited before treatment) [L1, L37]. For hammer peening, a method of application is given in
Overloading prior to in-service conditions can be considered an improvement method for structures made of
tough material, since it may produce an increase in fatigue strength. However, this method should be used
with caution as it can initiate cracks. The principle of the method is to load the structure (in compression or
tension) until yielding occurs in certain zones, the yielding level being influenced by the residual stresses in
the details for welded structures. Therefore, this method can be efficient to bring down the tensile residual
stresses, or even create local compressive zones, at defects in welded details when applying tensile stresses.
Due attention should be given to the buckling and static stability of the structure.
The overloading method should not be used for bolted structures, instead, the method of cold expansion of
bolt holes can be used to create compressive residual stress zones around the holes. This method consists of
introducing an oversized hard tool in the hole, thus inducing plastic deformations in the radial and
circumferential directions. Upon removal of the tool, the elastic material surrounding the hole attempts to
force the plastically deformed material to return to its original position with the results that compressive
residual stresses will be created in the band of material around the hole [L30].
Most coatings are anti-corrosion coatings. These coatings prevent damage due to rust notches (see
Section 2.5.1). They are very efficient for very short crack growth in corrosive environment (marine,
chemical plants, automotive), but ineffective on embedded defects. Existing surface defects may be too
large for any possible improvement. Corrosion protection is required on welded joints improved by shape
change methods, because corrosion effects may completely eliminate the benefit of the improvement

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 43

[L1, L26]. In addition, some coatings are believed to reduce the stress concentration by straining with the
joint under load, but actual knowledge and experience in this domain is too limited.

ECCS N° 105
44 Good design practice

Requirements should be incorporated in the quality assurance documents to ensure that structural details
comply with the relevant quality requirements for fatigue. Such requirements should be stated explicitly on
the fabrication drawings and the erection diagrams for each detail [L16].
In order to be on the safe side in terms of weld quality, a proper system of quality assurance should be
applied. A possible well suited quality management system is provided by the ISO 9000 system.
Weld quality should fulfil the requisites stipulated for quality class B according to EN 25817 [S24], which is
equivalent to ISO 5817. Weld irregularities should be estimated according to EN 26520 (ISO 6520) [S27].
In all cases the rules of good workmanship should be obeyed. If defects exceeding the acceptance levels are
detected in material or welding, the rules given in Chapter 7 : Methods for Repair, should be considered.
The common quality assurance is performed by non-destructive testing (NDT) of the details using of one or
more of the methods described in Section 4.3. More information on the various NDT methods can be found
in the litterature [L31]. Before choosing a method the definition of what the NDT shall detect is necessary.
The NDT detection capabilities also depend on the weldment type. Whenever possible, the design of the
weldment should be made to facilitate NDT (extension of free surface for scanning, local geometry). The
extend of testing is prescribed by competent standards or by the design engineer. Requirements should never
be less than the requirements given for structures designed against the static limit state.
NDT methods involve complementary processes. For most high quality welded fabrications in ferritic steels,
the combination usually chosen is magnetic particle inspection (MT) and ultrasonic testing (UT), whilst for
austenitic steels the combination is penetrant testing (PT) and radiography (RT). The human factor is very
important in NDT, and NDT requires well trained certified personnel.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 45

NDT controls during fabrication and erection cannot be properly implemented without the establishment of
acceptance levels. A distinction must be made between acceptance based on quality control and acceptance
based on fitness-for-purpose. Quality control levels are of considerable value in the monitoring of weld
quality during production. These levels are, out of necessity, both arbitrary and conservative and are based
on good workmanship criteria. If flaws more severe than the quality control levels are revealed, rejection is
not necessarily automatic, but may be based on fitness-for-purpose [L22, L33]. By this principle a weld in a
particular fabrication is considered to be adequate for its purpose provided the conditions to cause failure are
not reached during service (including a safety margin). A second reason for the use of the fitness-for-
purpose principles is that the repair of a weld is always a difficult task and if not carefully planned and
executed it will result, in terms of fatigue, in a lower strength than the strength of the detail prior to the
removal of the flaw.
Recommendations on the use of fitness-for-purpose can be found in documents such as the IIW [L18] and
the BS PD 6493 [L22] guides. In these guides formulas for assessing the stress range magnification
resulting, for example, from axial and angular misalignment are given. This approach, however, should not
be used on a regular basis to evaluate the adverse effect of a weld flaw on the fatigue resistance. It requires
expertise to be used properly and leads sometimes to the use of rather sophisticated analysis tools⎯FEM
analyses, fracture mechanics methods⎯that can be expensive and time consuming.
If flaws or defects are found in a component during fabrication or erection, the engineer shall be informed
and shall decide upon the action to be taken by answering the following questions :
• Does the defect found reduce the fatigue strength of the detail in an unacceptable manner ? Use either
quality standards or fitness-for-purpose evaluation (refer to references [L18, L22, L33] for guidelines).
• Can the defect be removed without major changes in the component, e.g. by careful grinding ?
• Should the defective area be removed and replaced ?
In cases where some type of repair is needed, a description of the repair procedure shall be written prior to
execution and prior to approval by the engineer. As a general rule, a non-welding repair should preferably
be considered prior to any welding repair, because welding causes shrinkage and additional residual and
secondary stresses, which in many cases favour fatigue crack development. Examples of non-welding
repairs are grinding, peening, and hole drilling.
Warning: notches!
Filling misplaced holes, cut-outs, etc. with weld material is
not recommended. It can be done, but requires
reclassification of the detail [S9] into a category that is often Preferred :
lower than the unwelded detail category. In the case of
holes, it is possible to leave them open where possible, or to Open
fill them with rivets, tightened bolts or eventually injection
bolts (see Fig. 7.1). Another option is to fill the hole with
epoxy resin. The least recommended method is to fill the Pretensionned bolts
hole with a round piece of steel held in place with fillet
welds ; if executed, the filled welds should be of quality, as
small as possible (only to avoid corrosion) and, in no way, Rivet
fully penetrated.
If the repair method contains welding, a qualification of the
welding procedure (WPS) is needed. The usual procedure is Figure 7.1: Filled up of holes in plates
to remove the defect or crack by gouging, then rewelding
ECCS N° 105
46 Good design practice

and grinding to improve shape and removing surface defects. For minor repairs at weld toes, the possibility
of using TIG [L35] or plasma remelting should not be forgotten (see Chapter 5 and next section).
7.3.1 Assessment and control
Assessment and control of steel structures is regulated in a large number of standards and guidelines. For
bridges, the reader can refer for example to [S5-S7]. The following points only gives examples of how to
undertake such investigations [L2, L5-L9].
• Plan regular inspections of the structure, with special attention to spots where excessive stresses from
fatigue relevant loads occur. The inspection interval depends mainly on the number and aggressiveness
of the load cycles.
• Obtain information from drawings and static calculations. Perform an on-site inspection to validate this
• Using the information gathered, determine the areas that :
a) are under extreme stress,
b) have the worst detail categories,
c) do not perform as expected.
• Inspection methods :
a) Always perform a visual examination. Check for bad workmanship signs. If some areas show irregular
signs—visible cracks and excessive corrosion, deformations or cracks in the paint coating—complete
inspection with method b) for such areas.
b) Magnetic particle testing of welds in areas of high stress or with poor detail categories, but also where
method a) causes suspicion. If there are still doubts, go to method c).
c) More sophisticated investigation methods such as ultrasonic testing or radiography are useful where
other methods are deemed too inaccurate. Such extensive methods need costly preparation and can be
performed only by very skilled specialists.
• Results of inspections should be collected over the lifetime of the structure and be compared carefully.
Sometimes the results can give indications of inadequate behaviour and the subsequent action to be
taken, e.g. sudden or progressive increase of deflections.
7.3.2 Repair and strengthening
In cases where strengthening of a structure is being considered or repair is needed, the following rules must
be taken into account [L10, L11, L34]:
• Old structures are in many cases built of material with very poor welding qualities even if they have
withstood a long fatigue life. Based upon erection date, an approximate classification of the construction
material can be made :
− before 1860 : cast iron. Low ductility, low tensile strength material, not weldable.
− in the period 1860 - 1900 : wrought steel. Flaky metallographic structure. Anisotropic mechanical
characteristics, not weldable.
− in the period 1900-1950 : mild steel (obtained using Thomas converter). Homogeneous material
with low toughness. Not good weldability.
− after 1950 : modern steel. Refer to weldability of steel alloy used.
Note that the dates given in the above classification are only indicative for industrialised countries and
are strongly dependent upon the country in which the structure has been erected. Old structures need
special care. To obtain more information on the material, tests on either easily replaceable components or
on sub-sized specimens removed from the structure should be made (Fig. 7.2).

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 47

Tensile test
Chemical analysis
45 Loading
mm direction

? CT sample for
fracture mechanic test

Figure 7.2: Sub-sized plate samples

• Every member in a structure is subjected to a certain magnitude of stress (dead load, permanent loads,
thermal loads, prestressing, etc.). On the contrary, any reinforcing or replacement member (plate, profile)
can be assumed as free of stress. This results in very different stress levels between the members under
live load : the original members in the structure may eventually reach their yield stress, while the added
members have a relatively low level of stress. In such cases the effects of fatigue loading on the structure
should be checked very carefully.
• Residual stresses due to shrinkage of welds (especially when oversized) induce a very different stress
distribution in the structure from the general calculated stresses.
• Strengthening and stiffening of a structure often displaces the problem from one location to another.
In case of repair of fatigue cracks, the repair procedure depends on the following factors [L34]:
• Size, number of cracks,
• Type of stress causing the cracking,
• Remaining service life of structure,
• Frequency and thoroughness of the inspection program, e.g. design strategy (refer to Chapter 3),
• Anticipated quality of repairs (accessibility, welding position, ...),
• Service loading controls (stop or reduced traffic, etc.) available during repairs.
In most cases, a bolted repair is better than a welded repair. A welded repair requires prior knowledge of the
base metal characteristics. Bolted repairs also have the advantage of adding redundancy to a structure.
In welded structures, surface cracks with limited depth can be repaired either by grinding, TIG or plasma
remelting [L35]. Grinding should not expose the root of a weld or a previously embedded flaw.
In the case of through-thickness cracks, the first step is to determine the location of the cracks ends as
precisely as possible. The simplest method of repair once the cracks have been found, is to drill a hole at
each crack tip. The hole should be positioned so that its centre is at the crack tip in order to reduce the
overall length of the crack and to minimise section loss. In most applications, a diameter between 18 and
30 mm (the longer the crack, the larger the hole) is sufficient to retard significantly or even prevent crack re-
initiation. The following formula can also be used to determine the required radius, ρ, so that no initiation
occurs [L29] :

#" 2 ! L
$> (for fy in N/mm2)
70 ! f y

Where Δσ is the stress range at the cracked detail (near the hole to be drilled) and L is the crack length.
All holes should be ground and surface polished. In cases where no adequate corrosion protection is
available, high strength bolts can be inserted in the holes (Fig. 7.1). In cases where the holes are sufficient to
stop the crack, such holes can be left as is if the remaining cross section is sufficient to withstand the service
loads. If not, splice plates should be bolted over the defective area.

ECCS N° 105
48 Good design practice

L1 Methods of Improving the Fatigue Strength I. F. C. SMITH, M. A. HIRT; Publication ICOM
of Welded Joints N° 114, April 1983.
L2 Fatigue and Fracture of Riveted Bridge E. BRÜHWILER, I. F. C. SMITH, M. A. HIRT;
Members Journal of Structural Engineering Vol. 116,
No. 1, Jan., 1990
L3 Fatigue-Resistant Steel Bridges I. F. C. SMITH, M. A. HIRT; Journal of
Constructional Steel Research,, Elsevier Science
Publishers Ltd. England, 1989.
L4 Recommendations Concerning Stress International Institute of Welding, IIW
Determination for Fatigue Analysis of Commissions XIII and XV, Chairman E.
Welded Components NIEMI, IIW Doc. XIII-1458-92 and XV-797-92,
L5 Bewertung der Spontanbruchgefahr E. BRÜHWILER, M. A. HIRT, U. MORF, R.
angerissener Brückenbauteile aus HUWILER; Publication ICOM N° 198,
Schweisseisen February 1989.
L6 Probabilistisches Verfahren zur Beurteilung P. KUNZ; Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de
der Ermüdungssicherheit bestehender Lausanne, Thesis EPFL N° 1023, 1992.
Brücken aus Stahl
L7 Bridge Management 2 - Inspection, Edited by J. E. HARDING, G. A. R. PARKE
maintenance, assessment and repair and M. J. Ryall: Department of Civil
Engineering, University of Surrey, UK; Thomas
Telford, London, 1993.
L8 Untersuchungen zur Betriebsfestigkeit von E. HAIBACH, I. PLASIL; Der Stahlbau 9/1983.
Stahlleichtfahrbahnen mit Trapezhohlsteifen
im Eisenbahnbrückenbau
L9 Ermüdungsgerechte Konstruktion einer M. HERZOG, Aaarau; Der Stahlbau 9/1981.
geschweißten Eisenbahnfachwerkbrücke
L10 Methoden zur Sanierung von C. MIKI, H. TAKENOUCHI, T. MORI;
Ermüdungsschäden in Anschlüssen von berichtet in Stahlbau 59, 1990.
Querverbänden stählerner Balkenbrücken
L11 Ermüdungsrisse in amerikanischen F. NATHER, Bauingenieur 64, 1989, p. 217.
L12 Zum Verhalten ausgeklinkter Träger unter J. SCHEER, H.-J. SCHEIBE, D. KUCK;
zyklischer Beanspruchung Bauingenieur 65, 1990, p. 463.
L13 Schwingfestigkeitsversuche für den E. HOFFMANN, R. OLIVIER; Der Stahlbau
Stumpfstoß in übereinanderliegenden 9/1977, p. 263.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 49

L14 Größeneinfluß von Fehlern auf G. SCHULZE, Berlin; Schweißen und
Gebrauchseigenschaften geschweißter Schneiden 34, N° 5, 1982.
Bauteile - Beitrag zur Sicherung der Güte
von Schweißarbeiten nach DIN 8563 Teil 3
L15 Recommendations on Fatigue of Welded International Institute of Welding, IIW/IIS, Joint
Components Working Group XIII-XV, Chairman A.
Hobbacher, IIW Doc. XIII-1539-96 / XV-845-
96, Published by Abington Publishing,
Cambridge, UK, 1996.
L16 Recommendations for the fatigue design of –European Convention for Constructional
steel structures Steelwork, ECCS, Publication N° 43, Brussels,
L17 Fatigue I and II Working group 12, European Steel Design
Education Programme (ESDEP) courses,
Vol. 18 and 19, Published by the Steel
Construction Institute, Ascot, UK, 1995.
L18 IIW guidance on assessment of the fitness- International Institute of Welding, IIW/IIS, IIW
for-purpose of welded structures Doc. SST-1157-90, 1990.
L19 Construction Métallique / Notions M.A. HIRT, R. BEZ; Traité de Génie Civil de
fondamentales et méthodes de l’Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
dimensionnement (EPFL), Volume 10, Presses Polytechniques et
Universitaires Romandes, Lausanne,
Switzerland, 1994.
L20 Kerbspannungslehre H. NEUBER, Springer, Berlin, 1958.
L21 Aspects of Good Design Practice for E. NIEMI, ESIS 16, 1993, Mechanical
Fatigue-Loaded Welded Components Engineering Publications, London, UK, pp. 333-
L22 Guidance on methods for assessing the BS PD 6493: 1991, British Standards Institution,
acceptability of flaws in fusion welded London, 1991.
L23 Elementary Fracture Mechanics, Fourth BROEK, D., Kluwer Academic Publishers,
revised edition Dordrecht, The Nederlands, 1986.
L24 A Survey of Fatigue Cracking Experience in MIKI, C., SAKANO, M., International Institute
Steel Bridges of Welding, IIW/IIS Doc. XIII-1383-90, 1990.
L25 Fatigue and Fracture of Steel Bridges - Case FISHER, J. W., Wiley Interscience, New York,
studies ISBNO-471-80469-X, 1984.
L26 Fatigue of Welded Structures, 2nd Edition GURNEY, T.R., Cambridge, UK, Cambridge
University Press, 1979.
L27 Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain ROARK, R.J., and YOUNG, W.C., Sixth
Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1989.

ECCS N° 105
50 Good design practice

L28 Weathering Steel in Bridges FISHER, M., Structural Engineering
International, Vol. 5, No. 1, February 1995, pp.
L29 Distortion-Induced Fatigue Cracking in FISHER, J.W., YEN B.T., JIAN, J., and
Steel Bridges WAGNER D.C., NCHRP Project 12-86(6),
National Cooperative Highway Research
Program (NCHRP) Report 336, Highway
Research Board, Washington, D.C., 1990.
L30 Improving the fatigue performance of bolt CANNON, D.F., SINCLAIR, J., SHARPE,
holes in railway rails by cold expansion K.A., Conference Proceedings, Fatigue life
analysis and prediction, ASM, 1986.
L31 Introduction to the non-destructive testing of R. HALMSHAW, Second Edition, Abington
welded joints Publishing, in association with The Welding
Institute, Cambridge, 1996
L32 Fatigue strength of welded joints in three KOSKIMAKI, M., and NIEMI, E., International
types of stainless steel Institute of Welding, IIW/IIS, IIW Document
No. XIII-1603-95, 1995.
L33 Developments in fatigue design codes and MADDOX, S.J., The Welding Institute,
fitness-for-service assessment methods Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge,CB1 6AL,
U.K., 1996.
L34 Focusing on Fatigue, guidelines for crack KEATING, P.B., Civil Engineering, Vol. 64,
repair No. 11, Nov. 1994, pp.54-57.
L35 Fatigue performances of repairing welds TAKENOUCHI, H., MIKI, C., SATO, S.,
with TIG-dressing for fatigue damaged International Institute of Welding, IIW/IIS, Doc.
highway bridges XIII-1509-93, 1993.
L36 An alternative to Miner’s rule for GURNEY, T., MADDOX, S.J., IABSE
cumulative damage calculations ? Workshop Lausanne 1990, Report N° 59,
IABSE, Zurich, 1990, pp. 189-198.
L37 IIW Recommendations for Weld Toe HAAGENSEN, P.J., and MADDOX, S.J.,
Improvement by Burr Grinding, TIG International Institute of Welding, IIW/IIS,
dressing and Hammer Peening for Steel and Commission XIII, Working group 2, July 1999 .
Aluminium Structures
L38 Fatigue design data for welded stainless MADDOX, S.J., BRANCO, C.M., SONSINO,
steels C.M., and al., International Institute of Welding,
IIW/IIS, Doc. XIII-1768-99, 1999.
L39 Ermüdungssicheres Konstruiren von Lehrstuhl fuer Stahlbau/RWTH Aachen,
orthotropen Platten für Strassenbrücken Germany, Feb. 1998.
L40 Design guide for circular and rectangular CIDECT Research Project 7M, Final Report,
hollow section joints under fatigue loading July 1998.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 51

S1 ENV 1993-1-1 : 1992, EUROCODE 3: Design of steel structures – Part 1-1: General rules and
rules for buildings, European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, April 1992.
S2 ENV 1993-2 : 1997, EUROCODE 3: Design of steel structures - Part 2 Bridges, European
Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, Oct. 1997.
S3 DS 804 - Vorschrift für Eisenbahnbrücken und sonstige Ingenieurbauwerke (VEI), Deutsche
Bundesbahn, 1983.
S4 BS 5400 : Part 10 Steel, concrete and composite bridges - Code of practice for fatigue, British
Standard Institution (BSI), London, 1980 (revised edition 1999).
S5 Richtlinie 805, Tragsicherheit bestehender Eisenbahnbrücken, Deutsche Bahn AG, Berlin,
Deutschland, Jan. 1997.
S6 Richtlinie 803, Inspection von Ingenieurbauwerken, Deutsche Bahn AG, Berlin, Deutschland,
Jan. 1997
S7 AASHTO, Guide specification for fatigue evaluation of existing steel bridges, Am. Assoc. of
State and Highway Transp. Officials, 444 North Capital St. N.W., Washington, D.C., 1990.
S8 SIA 161: Steel structures, Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects, Zürich, Switzerland,
S9 ÖNORM B 4300-5, Stahlbau – Ermüdungsfestigkeit, Wien, Austria, 1994.
S10 EN 10025 : 1993, Non-alloyed Steels, European Committee for Standardisation (CEN),
Brussels, Dec. 1993.
S11 EN 10113 : 1993 (in three parts), Weldable fine grain steels, European Committee for
Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, June 1993.
S12 EN 10210-1 : 1994 and EN 10210-2 : 1997, Hot finished structural hollow sections of non-
alloy and fine grain structural steel, European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels.
S13 EN 10137 : 1995 (in three parts), Plate and wide flats made of high yield strength structural
steel in the quenched and tempered or precipitation hardened condition, European Committee
for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, Dec. 1995.
S14 EN 10155 : 1993, Structural steels with improved atmospheric corrosion resistance, European
Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, 1993.
S15 EN 10088 : 1995, Stainless steels, European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels,
S16 ENV 1090 : 1996 (in five parts), Execution of steel structures, Part 1 : General rules and rules
for buildings and Part 5 : Supplementary rules for bridges, European Committee for
Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, 1996.
S17 ISO 10721-1:1997, Steel structures - Part 1: Materials and design, International Organisation
for Standardisation (ISO), Geneva, Switzerland, 1997.
S18 ENV 1991-1:1996, Basis of design and actions on structures, Part 1 : basis of design, European
Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, 1996.
S19 prENV 1991-3:1997, Basis of design and actions on structures, Part 3 : traffic loads on bridges,

ECCS N° 105
52 Good design practice

European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, 1997.
S20 prENV 1991-2-4:1997, Basis of design and actions on structures, Part 2-4 : wind actions,
European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, 1997.
S21 prENV 1991-5 : 1997, Basis of design and actions on structures, Part 5 : actions induced by
cranes and other machinery, European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, 1997.
S22 prENV 1993-3:1997, Towers, masts and chimneys, European Committee for Standardisation
(CEN), Brussels, 1997.
S23 prENV 1993-6:1997, Crane supporting structures, European Committee for Standardisation
(CEN), Brussels, 1997.
S24 EN 25817 (ISO 5817) : Arc-welded joints in steel – Guidance on quality levels for
imperfections, European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, Nov. 1992
S25 American Petroleum Institute, Recommended practice for planning, designing and constructing
fixed offshore platforms, API RP2A-LRFD, Dallas, 1993.
S26 DEn, Offshore installation : guidance on design and construction, Departement of Energy,
London, UK, 1990.
S27 EN 26520 : Classification of imperfections in metallic fusion welds, with explanations,
European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Brussels, 1992.

ECCS N° 105
Good design practice 53

N° 43 Recommendations for the fatigue design of steel structures, 1987.
N° 68 E.R. for aluminium alloy structures fatigue design, 1992.
N° 81 The use of weathering steel, 1995.
N° 93 Executing Steel Structures to Eurocodes 3 and 4 : Guide to ENV 1090 – 1, 1997.

ECCS N° 105