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International Journal of Fatigue 61 (2014) 3945

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

International Journal of Fatigue


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijfatigue

The signicance of fatigue crack initiation for predictions of the fatigue


limit of specimens and structures
Jaap Schijve
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, P.O. Box 5058, 2600 GB Delft, The Netherlands

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 30 August 2013
Received in revised form 28 October 2013
Accepted 31 October 2013
Available online 15 November 2013
Keywords:
Crack initiation phenomenon
Fatigue limit
Fatigue notch effect
Welded joints

a b s t r a c t
The fatigue life of specimens and structures covers two periods: a crack initiation period and a crack
growth period. Micro-crack nucleation and initial micro-crack growth are a surface phenomenon controlled by the local stress cycles at the material surface. The subsequent macro-crack growth is depending
on the fatigue crack growth resistance of the material as a bulk property. The fatigue behaviour in both
periods is qualitatively reasonably well understood. However, the quantitative analysis is problematic.
Moreover the number of variables which can effect the fatigue behaviour of specimens and structures
is large. The paper is focussed on realistic understanding of the prediction problem, especially on the prediction of the fatigue limit of notched specimens and structures. The effect of a salt water environment on
the fatigue limit is discussed. As a special topic comments are presented on the notch effect of welded
joints. Short comings of the so-called effective notch concept are indicated. Comments on the design recommendations of the International Institute of Welding are presented. The signicance of realistic experiments and a profound FE-analysis are emphasized.
2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
It is noteworthy that fatigue of various structures still remains a
practical problem, for instance for aircraft, cars, cranes, bridges, offshore structures, etc. This situation is a consequence of several
developments associated with new types of structures, desirable
weight reductions of the structure, new production techniques
and materials. Safety and economic arguments are also important,
especially in view of a more intensive and longer utilization of
structures in service. As a consequence one thing did not change.
There is still a risk of crack initiation and subsequent propagation
to failure of structures in service.
In the present paper the main emphasis is on the prediction of
the fatigue limit and the phenomenon of fatigue crack initiation.
First the concept of the fatigue limit is discussed. How should it
be dened? The fatigue limit is of great interest for the design ofce of the industry in view of the question whether fatigue cracks
may occur in the required life time of a structure in service. By nite-analysis (FE) the stress distribution will be obtained which
will reveal stress concentrations around critical notches. Stress
concentration factors (Kt) can then be used to start predictions
on a fatigue limit. Predictions are associated with the similarity between the geometry and production of the structure and the conditions of laboratory specimens for which fatigue data are
available. There is some rational understanding of the similarity,

E-mail addresses: J.Schijve@LR.TUDelft.nl, J.Schijve@tudelft.nl


0142-1123/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfatigue.2013.10.022

and also of the limitations of the similarity. This is a major theme


of the present paper with the purpose to emphasize fundamental
understanding.
First the crack initiation and initial crack growth are discussed,
including the effect of corrosion. It is followed by comments on
methods for the prediction of the fatigue limit of notched structural elements. Fatigue of welded joints are discussed in a separate
section. The discussion is summarized in a number of conclusions.

2. Crack initiation and the fatigue limit


The fatigue life encompasses two periods, the crack initiation
period and the crack growth period until failure, see Fig. 1, which
also presents the parameters, Kt and K relevant to the two periods.
Micro-crack initiation preferably occurs at the material surface because of the low constraint on cyclic plasticity, see Fig. 2. As long as
a micro-crack is still present in a single grain the growth depends
on the material structure in that grain, including the crystallographic orientation of the grains and possible inclusions. The rst
micro-crack growth is a surface phenomenon. At a later stage the
micro-crack will penetrate into surrounding grains, both along
the material surface and in the depth direction away from the
material surface see Fig. 3. It implies that crack growth occurs along
a crack front through a number of adjacent grains. Crack growth
then is no longer depending upon the surface condition, but primarily on the crack growth resistance as a bulk property of the
material. If this occurs the crack growth rate can be correlated with

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J. Schijve / International Journal of Fatigue 61 (2014) 3945

Fig. 1. The fatigue life, phases and factors.

Fig. 2. Cross section of the initial fatigue crack starting at the material surface [1].

Crack front

Free surface
Fig. 3. Top view of a fatigue crack with the crack front passing through many grains
[1].

stress intensity factors. In each load cycle a still microscopically


small crack extension occurs. It can lead to striations which can
be observed in the electron microscope.
In the initial crack initiation period a micro-crack is presented,
while in the subsequent crack growth period the fatigue crack may
be labelled as a macro-crack, although it may still be invisible. Sonsino [2] considered the crack propagation period in full-scale tests
on a large welded structure to start as a size of 1 mm which was
detected by a DC potential drop technique. Other small sizes may
be considered. The transition from micro-crack growth to macrocrack growth is a gradual process. It is pointed out in [1] that the
transition cannot precisely be dened. Nevertheless the transition
does occur. The important conclusion to be drawn here is that predictions on the fatigue limit should be associated with considering
the conditions for micro-crack initiation. As soon as the crack is
growing as a macro-crack a nal failure will occur.
The fact that rather small cracks can still grow has been shown
in various investigations. As an example Fig. 4 with data of Wanhill
[3] for small cracks at DK-values below DKthr. It may be stated here
that the threshold DK is irrelevant for crack growth under constant-amplitude loading. A threshold to crack growth can be

Fig. 4. Micro-cracks grow at DK < Kth [3].

observed only under variable-amplitude loading as a result of crack


closure [1].
The question now is how to dene a fatigue limit. Historically
the fatigue limit was considered to represent a knee-point in the
SN curve at a fatigue life of 2.106 cycles, see Fig. 5. But other Nvalues for an apparent kneepoint can be found in the literature.
A tendency towards a horizontal SN curves for large endurances
has also been observed in many fatigue test programs. Fatigue failures for N > 2.107 then were rarely observed and tests were generally not continued for fatigue lives exceeding 108 cycles.
An entirely different behaviour occurs in fatigue tests in salt
water The detrimental effect of salt water on fatigue properties
is a well known phenomenon for engineering materials. In the
literature it has frequently been illustrated by SN curves, including a systematic effect of the load frequency. Those curves also
suggests that a fatigue limit does not exist by fatigue in salt
water. It is usually associated with an electro-chemical process.
If salt water can enter a fatigue crack it will move to the tip of

J. Schijve / International Journal of Fatigue 61 (2014) 3945

41

3. The prediction of the fatigue limit of notched specimens


(log) S

ac

ro

-c

ra

ck

gr

ow

th

micro-crack growth

N = 2 106

(log) N

Fig. 5. Schematic SN curve with knee-point and different crack growth areas.

the crack due to cyclic crack opening and closure. It then can
activate the decohesion mechanism. Chloride ions are supposed
to contribute to decohesion at the crack tip. Crack extension occurs during the load rising part of the load cycle. Illustrative results are shown in Fig. 6. Six different wave shapes were used in
this investigation. Two different loading rates were applied, and a
larger crack rate was observed for the slower loading rate, compare ABC with DEF. During a slower loading rate there is more
time for a corrosive contribution to crack extension. However,
the three highly different holding times at the maximum load
did not have a systematic effect. Apparently the loading rate
has a signicant effect on the fatigue crack growth in salt water.
A similar effect of the rise time of the load cycle has been observed for an aluminium alloy [5]. The observations were obtained for macro-crack growth. It may be expected that a
similar effect will occur for micro-crack growth because small
cracks are also opening and closing. Quantitative data can only
be obtained by experiments, but it may well be expected that
this corrosion phenomenon can occur at rather low amplitudes
below the engineering fatigue limit. It then can lead to macrocrack growth and a fatigue failure after very high numbers of cycles. It appears that a fatigue limit is absent.

The prediction of the fatigue limit of a notched structural element is a realistic problem for engineering design purposes. In general terms the fatigue limit is then supposed to be the maximum
cyclic stress level for which fatigue crack initiation does not occur.
It is tacitly assumed that there are no cracks at all. In view of the
previous discussion it is possible that a micro-crack has been initiated which however did not succeed in growing to a macro-crack.
A physical argument for that behaviour is that the early crack initiation at the material surface occurs under plane stress conditions
at the free surface. After growing into the material there is a conversion to a plane strain situation which will reduce cyclic plasticity, also on a microscopic level. Further more, the tip of a growing
crack can meet with barriers in the structure of the material, such
as grain boundaries or pearlite bands in steel. It implies that a more
accurate denition of the fatigue limit should include the condition
that cyclic loading must lead to micro-crack initiation followed by
macro-crack growth. This question was investigated by Frost et al.
[6,7]. They noted that an initially microscopically small fatigue
crack stopped growing any further. If this occurs in a fatigue test
to obtain data for SN curves such an arrested micro-crack is invisible and the result of the test will be recorded as a runout. In physical terms it cannot be said that fatigue damage did not occur, but
it did not produce a visible fatigue crack and thus not a nal failure.
In view of the above arguments it will be clear that a realistic
prediction of the fatigue limit cannot be a simple procedure. In
the previous century the need for engineering predictions of fatigue properties was still supposed to be required for design purposes. The effect of notches, such as holes, should be accounted
for. It was generally thought that the prediction of fatigue properties of notched elements must be derived from the fatigue properties of unnotched specimens. The latter properties were assumed
to be characteristic for the fatigue behaviour of a material. Now
consider the comparison made in Fig. 7. The unnotched specimen
is loaded to the stress level of the fatigue limit of the unnotched
material. The notched specimen is loaded with the corresponding
peak stress equal to the fatigue limit of the unnotched material.

Fig. 6. Effect of the loading rate and hold times at maximum load on fatigue crack growth in 0.22 C-steel in lake water. Results of Atkinson and Lindley [4].

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J. Schijve / International Journal of Fatigue 61 (2014) 3945

edition of his book that an average stress level in a thin surface


layer at the root of the notch should be considered instead of Speak
at the material surface. Although not strictly related to this thin
layer concept he proposed a reduced stress concentration factor
KN with the following equation:

Kt  1
K N 1 p
1  A=q

(a) Fatigue limit Sfk


Question: Sfk = Sf1/Kt (?)

(b) Fatigue limit Sf1

Fig. 7. Similarity concept by comparing stress ranges in notched and unnotched


specimens [1].

It might imply that the same crack initiation and initial microcrack growth will occur in both specimen. The fatigue limit of
the notched specimen (symbol Sfk) would then simply be obtained
by dividing the fatigue limit of the unnotched material by Kt.

Sfk Sf 1 =K t

However, is has been shown in numerous fatigue test programs


that the reduction factor is smaller than Kt. The fatigue reduction
factor (symbol Kf) is dened as:

K f Sf 1 =Sfk

Kf < Kt

In this equation q is the radius at the root of the notch. The value of A is a material constant which should follow from experimental results. Later it was proposed by Kuhn and Hardrath [10]
that A should be a function of the static strength of the material.
For a stronger material the value of A should be smaller. For
A = 0 in Eq. (4) the result is KN = Kt. It agrees with the experience
that high-strength materials are rather notch fatigue sensitive.
For low strength materials which usually are more ductile the value of A is relatively large and KN in Eq. (3) will become smaller
which also agrees with experience. Eq. (4) with the constants proposed by Kuhn and Hardrath was substantiated by experimental
results, and the equation thus is no longer based on physical
assumptions. Actually it is data tting of results of fatigue tests.
3.2. Prediction method of Peterson
Peterson has published a book Stress Concentration Factors
[9] which is a most valuable collection of Kt-values as a function
of dimensional ratios of notch congurations. Peterson also considered the experimental evidence of Kf-values being lower than
the theoretical Kt-values. He suggested that instead of Speak the
somewhat lower stress level at a specic small distance below
the surface should be considered to be the effective peak stress.
Peterson then proposed a KfKt relation, which is:

Kf is also labelled as the fatigue notch factor. Experimental evidence thus indicated:

From an engineering point of view this is favourable because


the reduction of the fatigue strength by a notch is smaller than predicted by a reduction factor equal to Kt. The reduction is smaller for
high-strength/low ductility materials, and larger and thus more
favourable for low strength/high ductility materials.
In retrospect, the assumption that Kf = Kt is not logical. It is true
that the fatigue mechanism is similar in unnotched and notched
specimens, but there are fundamental differences between the
two specimens. In an unnotched specimen a homogeneous stress
distribution is present in a large volume of the specimen. The cross
section is circular and the surface nish is excellent. In the notched
specimen a local stress concentration occurs in a small volume of
the specimen. Various cross sections and a variety of surface nish
qualities are adopted. They can be accounted for by experience obtained in comparative fatigue tests [1].
In the previous century several ideas have been proposed to account for the stress gradient at the root of a notch. Proposals to account for the steep gradient were presented by Neuber [8] and by
Peterson [9]. They are briey summarized below.
3.1. Prediction method of Neuber
Neuber is the author of a famous book on elastic stress distributions in notched elements (rst edition in 1937, translated in 1946
[8]). Later Neuber noticed that the Kt-values obtained by an elastic
stress analysis considerably overestimated the notch severity observed in fatigue experiments. He then suggested in the second

Kf 1

Kt  1
1 a q

In this equation a is depending on the material for which Peterson proposed certain values which led to a good correlation with
experimental results. Again the intrinsic nature of the equation in
non-physical. As shown in [1] predictions obtained with Eqs. (4)
and (5) differ by no more that 10%.
Starting from a stress level somewhat below the material surface in order to explain why Kf < Kt is a strange approach. However,
if the above equations can still produce a reasonable estimate of
the fatigue limit, they still can be useful for reasonable estimates.
But physically the derivation of the equations is in contradiction
with the actual phenomenon. In general crack initiation starts at
the material surface, and not at a certain distance below the material surface. Even more important, the stress along the surface of
the notch does not rapidly decrease in contrast to the sharp decrease of the peak stress in the depth direction away from the
material surface, see Fig. 8.
It may be recalled here that the KfKt correlation discussed in
this section applies to the fatigue limit only, and not to SN curves.
Furthermore, it should be realized that the application of a Kffactor to estimate fatigue properties of notched elements is a large
extrapolation step. It starts with data of unnotched specimen for
which Kt is about 1.0 which then must lead to fatigue limit data
for notched specimens with Kt in a range from 2 to 4. If a new alloy
is developed the unnotched fatigue limit is frequently presented as
a basic material property. However, it does not show anything
about the fatigue-notch sensitivity of the material. Fatigue test results of notched specimens are more instructive for design purposes. For more complex joints it is well recognized that
instructive fatigue tests should be carried out on joints specimens.
This applies to riveted joints, lugs and welded joints. In riveted

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J. Schijve / International Journal of Fatigue 61 (2014) 3945

Fatigue strength
7
at N = 10

Stress distribution near the edge of the hole

Plate with circular hole loaded in tension

Fig. 9. Fatigue resistance SN curves for steel and very high cycles application
according to the IIW Recommendations [13].

Fig. 8. Steep reduction of the peak stress perpendicular to the edge of hole.
However, slow reduction of the stress level along the edge of the hole [1].

joints and lugs fretting corrosion occurs which cannot be incorporated in a mathematical evaluation. However, for welded joints the
situation is different although also complex. Comments are
presented in the following section.
4. Fatigue of welded joints
Fatigue of welded joints is generally considered to be a specic
problem. It is different from general structural fatigue problems
because of the various welding techniques and the large variety
of applications. An excellent survey of analysing fatigue properties
of welded joints was published by Radaj in 1996 [11]. It includes
the historical development of knowledge and considerations to
be taken into account for fatigue problems. Radaj emphasized the
signicance of local design aspects of welded joints in order to arrive at improved fatigue properties. The problem of fatigue of
welded joints was also extensively discussed by several authors
in papers collected in a book by Radaj et al. [12]. Also in these papers the local design approach of welded joints is emphasized in
order to explore the fatigue performance. The question to be addressed here is associated with prediction issues, and primarily
with the predictions of the fatigue limit. The fatigue limit is relevant for considering the risk of fatigue crack initiation in welded
structures in service, especially for large structures such as pressure vessels, ships and offshore structures. But there are more
welded structures for which fatigue failures are not acceptable. Aspects to be considered in the present paper are associated with the
question whether a fatigue limit of a welded joint does exist and
whether predictions of the fatigue limit for design purposes are
possible.
4.1. The fatigue limit of welded joints
Prediction problems of welded structures are addressed in
Recommendations for fatigue design of welded joints and components, an extensive document of the International Institute of
Welding (IIW) [13]. In this document the denition of the fatigue
limit is the fatigue strength at a fatigue life N = 107. For high cycle
applications it is assumed that the SN curve is still sloping down
between N = 107 and 109, see Fig. 9. In this graph the SN curves
illustrate a series of different fatigue qualities of welded joints. It
varies from a high quality (the upper curve) to a poor quality

(the bottom curve). In each quality group different congurations


of welded structures can be present. The correlation between the
quality and the SN curves as shown in Fig. 9 was established by
considering test results of comprehensive fatigue test programs.
The curves imply that a specic fatigue limit is always associated with the same nite life part of the corresponding SN curve.
That is strange. The fatigue limit is a matter of crack initiation only.
But the fatigue life N of an SN curve includes both a crack initiation period and a crack growth period. The crack growth period is
depending on the crack growth resistance of the material. However, crack initiation is a surface phenomenon depending on surface conditions, and not on the crack growth resistance of the
material. It appears that there is a generalization in the IIW-document which is difcult to understand.
In the IIW document the fatigue limit is also associated with a
knee-point of the SN curve at N = 107. Some fatigue failures between N = 107 and N = 108 are observed in various fatigue test programs together with a few runouts. It is still somewhat
cumbersome to consider the linearly sloping down of the SN
curves in Fig. 9 up to N = 109. Fatigue failures in the range of the
fatigue life between 108 and 109 cycles suggest a very slow crack
growth. Imagine a crack growth rate of 1 atomic distance
(0.3 nm) in a cycle. It require about 30,000,000 cycles to grow
1 cm. It is difcult to speculate about a fatigue crack growth mechanism in terms of metal physics to cope with this result. It is wellknown that the material in a welded joint is not homogeneous.
There are heat affected zones with various material structures
and residual stresses. But even then it is hard to understand how
an extremely high fatigue life can be obtained. Only a time dependent mechanism can explain such a result. It can occur during corrosion fatigue in a salt water environment as discussed before.
Diffusion processes may also be assumed for some time dependent
phenomenon, which then offers some difcult speculation on details of such a phenomenon.

4.2. The concept of the effective notch stress


In view of problems associated with predictions of SN curves
of welded joints a new concept has been proposed for this purpose.
It is based on the introduction of a so-called effective notch occurring at the toe of a weld [14]. The prole of the weld is by denition
replaced by a circular rounding with a specic radius q, see Fig. 10.
The stress distribution around the notch can then be calculated

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J. Schijve / International Journal of Fatigue 61 (2014) 3945

(a) Cruciform joint and butt joint loaded in tension.

instead of a single q-value. As mentioned in [15] the most obvious


ratio is q/t with t being the local plate thickness. A value q/t = 0.1
may be useful but this should still be explored. Anyway it is expected that a constant q/t-value in a FE analysis can be instructive
for design purposes because it indicate the severity of the stress
distribution around the toe of a weld. However, the effective Kt-value cannot be adopted for considering the fatigue crack growth
resistance. It implies that using the effective Kt for evaluating S
N curves is questionable. It could be useful for prediction of a fatigue limit. But it then will meet with the same problems as discussed in Section 3 for simple geometric notches.
4.3. Full-scale fatigue tests on a large welded structure reported by
Sonsino

(b) The same joints with fictitious rounding of weld toes and roots.
Fig. 10. Different types of welds with rounded corners at the edges of the welds
[11].

with FE techniques. A local peak stress (Smax) and a corresponding


Kt-value are obtained. This information is supposed to be characteristic for the severity of the stress distribution around a weld
and thus for the fatigue severity. The value of Smax or Kt is proposed
to be a new parameter which can be adopted for evaluating the fatigue performance of welded joints. The size of q is a ctitious
parameter and thus will lead to ctitious Kt-values. But nevertheless, it can produce useful information about the severity of the
stress level of different welded joints. It also can give useful information if structural modications are considered to improve the
fatigue performance of a structure. It then is used for the evaluation of the improved design. Actually it implies that a FE analysis
is used as a design tool.
However, it was also proposed to use the effective stress level
for fatigue life predictions. Some agreement between predictions
and experimental results were reported, but it was also noted that
the agreement can depend on the size of the ctitious radius q. Different values for q are mentioned in the literature to improve the
correlation between predicted trends and experimental results
[15]. Because Kt-values are depending on non-dimensional ratios
of two dimensions the present author concluded in [16] that some
effective ratio of two relevant dimensions should be adopted

Recently an interesting investigation has been reported by Sonsino [2]. It is summarized here because it covers the overall topic of
fatigue of welded structures. Fatigue tests were carried out on large
welded K-node elements of an offshore structures, see Fig. 11. The
tests were carried out under both constant-amplitude loading and
service-simulation variable-amplitude loading employing an offshore load spectrum. A sea-water environment was applied which
further increased the realistic nature of the experiments. Observations were made on crack initiation and subsequent crack growth.
The crack initiation period was supposed to be nished after a
crack with a depth of 1.0 mm under the material surface was obtained. The crack depth was measured with a DC potential drop
technique. The end of the crack growth period was dened as the
break through of the fatigue failure until the full wall thickness
of the local structure. A stress analysis of the structure with FE calculations was made to reveal the most critical location for crack
initiation in the welds. Strain gage measurements were also made
for the same purpose.
The investigation of Sonsino is most instructive. A major conclusion for each new welded structures is that a FE-analysis is a
powerful tool to indicate the most fatigue critical locations, to allocate possible fatigue problems and to consider arguments for
safety factors and a risk analysis. However, resonably accurate predictions on a fatigue limit and the crack initiation life will remain a
difcult problem, the more so because these properties depend on
details of the weld prole. The best solution is to perform a realistic
fatigue test, but that can be expensive. Tests on details of the structure can be useful, but the local thickness and welding conditions
should be representative. If predictions on the crack growth period
are made, fracture mechanics procedures must be used. It appears

Fig. 11. Tubular welded K-node in an off-shore structure [2].

J. Schijve / International Journal of Fatigue 61 (2014) 3945

that research efforts on this topic are worthwhile, also in view of


the complexity of welded joints. Crack growth tests and the corresponding analysis of the stress intensity factors are then necessary.
5. Summarizing conclusions
5.1. Elementary comments
1. The fatigue life of specimens and structures covers two periods:
a crack initiation period and a crack growth period. Micro-crack
nucleation and initial micro-crack growth are a surface phenomenon controlled by local stress cycles at the material surface. In the second period the initially small crack growth is
driven by the cyclic stress intensity around the crack front.
The crack growth rate then depends on the crack growth resistance of the material. It is no longer a surface phenomenon. The
crack initiation mechanism and the crack growth mechanism
are essentially different.
2. The denition of the fatigue limit should be associated with the
occurrence of micro-crack nucleation followed by macro-crack
growth. If this does not occur, the fatigue load is below the fatigue limit.
3. Fatigue crack growth in salt water will be activated by an electro-chemical process during the rising part of a load cycle. The
effect depends on the loading rate, but not on hold times at the
maximum load. Due to the corrosion effect fatigue crack growth
is possible at very small load amplitudes which then can lead to
failure. A fatigue limit appears to be absent.
5.2. About the fatigue limit and notch effects
4. Predictions on the fatigue limit of notched specimens are usually based on employing an assumed similarity with the fatigue
limit of unnotched specimen. However, the stress distribution
in notched and unnotched specimens are entirely different.
The similarity is absent. It implies that the notch sensitivity of
a material should be investigated with notched specimens only.
5. The fatigue reduction factor Kf is smaller than the stress concentration factor Kt. The difference is smaller for high-strength
materials. Two KfKt equations published in the literature are
in reasonable agreement with experimental results. However,
the arguments adopted in the literature to explain why Kf < Kt
are questionable. Stresses along the surface of notch root radius
are more relevant than a stress level at some distance below the
surface.
5.3. Some comments on fatigue of welded joints
6. The number of variables of welded joints which are signicant
for the fatigue properties of a welded structure is very large.
As a result it is difcult for a designer to arrive at well documented rules to obtain trustworthy estimates of the fatigue
limit and the fatigue life of a welded structure. Much experience
is presented in the Recommendations for Fatigue Design of
Welded Joints and Components published by the International
Institute of Welding. Experience and engineering judgement are
essential to deal with fatigue prediction problems of welded
structures.

45

7. In the IIW document it is suggested that SN curves can indicate


the fatigue performance of a structure. This is misleading
because it neglects that the fatigue life comprises a crack initiation period and a crack growth period. The fatigue limit and
the SN curve are not necessarily interrelated.
8. The new concept of the effective notch stress has been proposed to arrive at a prediction model for obtaining SN curves
for welded joints. Kt-values derived with this model can be
instructive for revealing the severity of the stress level at the
root of a weld. However, for this purpose the model should be
improved by replacing the ctitious root radius by a ratio of
the radius and the local plate thickness of the structure. The
suggestion that the effective notch stress concept can be used
for predictions on SN curves of a welded structure is
misleading.
9. A profound FE analysis of the entire welded structure is a powerful tool for design purposes to indicate the most fatigue critical locations in a structure. Results of the maximum stress
levels thus obtained can be evaluated for achieving a satisfactory design including safety considerations.

Acknowledgment
Correspondence with professor C.M. Sonsino was informative
and stimulated the author to write the present paper.
References
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