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ht. J. Pres. Ves.

& Piping 61 (1996) 229-242

0 1996 Elsevier Science Limited
Printed in Northern Ireland. All rights reserved
ELSEVIER 0308-0161(94)00020-8 0308-0161/96/$15.00

Experimental investigation of fatigue

behaviour for welded .joint with mechanical
Guangxu Cheng, Z. B. Kuang, Z. W. Lou & Hua Li
Department of Chemical Engineering and Machinery, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Wan Jiaotong University, Xi’an,
Shaanxi Province, 710049, P. R. China

(Received 20 December 1994;accepted 22 January 1995)

Because of material and mechanical heterogeneity in welded joints, ex-

perimental studiesof low-cycle fatigue (LCF) life and fatigue crack initiation
behaviour were performed on weld metal, heat-affectedzone (HAZ) and base
metal of 16MnR pressurevesselsteel. A fatigue damagetest was carried out
by introducing a new damagevariable. The fatigue damageevolution laws in
each zone of a welded joint were obtained. A circular-notched compact
tension specimenwasdesignedand the whole processof fatigue damage,crack
initiation and crack growth in each zone was investigated. The effect of
mechanical heterogeneity in welded joints on the fatigue damagebehaviour
and fatigue crack initiation life was also investigated. The experimental and
theoretical resultsindicate that the fatigue behaviour is markedly different in
three zones of welded joints: there is a trend toward reduction in the fatigue
life of HAZ ascompared with the basemetal. The weld metal doesnot have
the samefatigue behaviour as confirmed by LCF life and crack growth rate.
This study leadsto the conclusionthat fairly accurate estimatesof fatigue life
for weldedjoints shouldinclude the whole processof fatigue damageevolution
and fatigue crack initiation as well as crack growth. Furthermore, a local
experimental method should be carried out for weld metal, HAZ and base
metal, respectively. Finally, the local fatigue failure criterion based on the
weakestchain model has been presented.

1 INTRODUCTION steel structures are heterogeneous both in

microstructure and mechanical properties. It is
The overall safety of steel structures is evaluated noted that the cyclic stress/strain behaviour,
in the welded joint as well as in the base plate, fatigue damage mechanism, fatigue crack initia-
since many fatigue loaded structures are fabri- tion and growth rate are different in these three
cated by welding. According to the statistics of zones for welded joints. In order to assure the
previous failure accidents of pressure vessels, safety of welding structures, many researchers
about 26% of total failures were caused by pay attention to investigating the fatigue damage
fatigue damage or fatigue fracture and most of and fatigue fracture of welded joints with
the failures took place at the welded joints for mechanical heterogeneity. In recent years, the
welded structures.’ Therefore, the fatigue life researches were focused on the fatigue strength
evaluation of welded joints is essential and of the welded joint and fatigue crack growth from
important for engineering structures. welded defects.‘,” A method for fatigue life
In the view of macroscopical studies each weld prediction has been proposed by Lawrence using
pass has a heat-affected zone. Therefore, the strain-controlled fatigue concepts.3 However the
welded joint is a mechanical heterogeneous body discussion of LCF (low cycle fatigue) life so far
composed of base metal (BM), weld metal (WM) has assumed that the weld metal behaves as if it
and heat-affected zone (HAZ). Weldments in was homogeneous. The fatigue tests usually were
230 Guangxu Cheng et al.

carried out on welded‘joints, therefore, the total occupies the most fatigue life of the structures.
loading displacement of a welded joint specimen Therefore, it is also very important to investigate
included base metal, weld metal and HAZ. the damage process and physical mechanism of
At present, fatigue behaviour in the crack damage evolution before macro-cracks form in
propagation regime is more clearly understood welded joints.
and the methodology for prediction of crack The purpose of the present work is to focus on
growth life is well known. However, because of the comparative study of LCF behaviour of base
the difficulty of measurement and calculation metals and its weld metals and HAZ by
about crack initiation, the crack initiation life continuum damage mechanics (CDM), to analyze
under the same conditions has not been the fatigue damage evolution of welded joints
understood and there has been no adequate through a new damage variable presented by the
information on the effects of welding heteroge- authors. It is also our purpose to study the whole
neity on the crack initiation life. This led some process of fatigue damage, fatigue crack initiation
researchers to neglect the initiation portion of and crack growth, to study the effect of
fatigue life in assessing the fatigue performance mechanical heterogeneity on fatigue behaviour
of welded structures. This neglect gives a and fatigue life. The major emphasis is placed on
conservatism to the assessment procedure but the estimating the LCF damage process and fatigue
fatigue life of a welded structure may be initiation life of HAZ.
underestimated. In addition, there are some
structures where the design to prevent crack
initiation is important because of surveillance or 2 MATERIALS AND EXPERIMENTAL
maintenance considerations. Therefore, more PROCEDURES
recent studies and experiments have concentr-
ated on the determination of crack initiation life 2.1 Materials and specimens
at each zone in welded joints and the effect of
mechanical heterogeneity on fatigue initiation The base material chosen for the investigations
life. For welding structures, besides the state of was a pressure vessel steel called 16MnR
stress and strain, many factors such as mic- (designated in Chinese-GB). The thickness of the
rostructure, mechanical heterogeneity and re- steel plate was 22 mm. The joint was welded by
sidual stress may influence the crack initiation auto-submerged arc welding (SAW) procedure,
seriously. Furthermore, the crack initiation life is with HlOMn2 welding wire of 4.0mm in
different in each zone. Therefore it is very diameter. The chemical compositions and mech-
important to investigate fatigue crack initiation anical properties of the low-alloy steels are
and influencing factors of initiation life in each presented in Tables 1 and 2 respectively. The
zone of welded joints for predicting the precise welding condition is listed in Table 3. The welded
fatigue life in engineering structure. joint consists of three zones macroscopically, i.e.
Generally, in such studies the welded defects weld metal zone, HAZ and base metal.
have been simplified to macro-cracks. The fatigue In order to investigate the fatigue damage
crack initiation and growth from a pre-cracked evolution and fatigue crack initiation behaviour,
specimen were studied by fracture mechanics two types of specimens were designed. These
theory. However, because of the characteristics specimens were taken from multipass welded
of welding procedure, the welding zones easily joints at half depth of welded plate, as shown in
produce metallurgical discontinuity such as: Fig. 1.
microcracks, porosity, non-metallic inclusions, One type of specimen is the so-called
microstructure alteration of heat-affected zone, hourglass-type specimen, which was used to study
etc. In fact, a welding zone may look like the LCF behaviour and fatigue damage. The test part
initial damage zone of microscopical defects. This of the specimen is a cylindrical bar of 7-Omm in
initial damage leads to deterioration of the diameter and 30mm in length, the minimum
mechanical properties of the welded joint under cross-section (6.0 mm in diameter) is placed on
the action of cycle loading. The final fracture of the centre of weld metal (called WM specimen),
structures are probably the evolution and heat-affected zone (called HAZ specimen) and
development process of the initial damage and base metal (called BM specimen) respectively, as
damage process before macro-crack initiation shown in Fig. 2.
Fatigue behaviour for welded joint with mechanical heterogeneity 231

Table 1: Chemical compositions of 16MnR steel and weld metal


Material C Mn Si P S

16MnR 0.18 1.54 0.35 0.019 0.023

HlOMn2 0.11- 0.13 1.69- 1.70 0.43 5 0.53 0.017 0.022

2.2 The mechanical heterogeneity of the welded 2.4 The fatigue damage tests
The fatigue damage tests were divided into two
The microstructure of base metal is ferrite and groups. In one group, the specimens of original
pearlite, but the microstructure of deposited weld material (no cyclic loading before tensile) were
metal and HAZ is markedly different from that directly subjected to monotonic tensile load until
of the base metal. Weld metal consists of they fractured to obtain the reduction of section
columnar pearlite and ferrite. In the HAZ the area I,!Jand fracture strain .sf. In another group,
welding process produces local microstructural the specimens were firstly subjected to cyclic
changes and the microstructure is tempered loading to a certain number of cycles so that a
martensitic. Obviously, the difference of mic- degree of damage had been made in these
rostructure between the three zones must lead to specimens; the damaged specimens were then
mechanical heterogeneity. In order to obtain the tensioned to fracture by monotonic loading to
distribution of mechanical properties for the obtain the remaining reduction of section area $
welded joints, the microspecimens were cut out and remaining fracture strain cRP
from the welded plate by molybdenum wire, as
shown in Fig. 3. The monotonic tension tests of 2.5 Fatigue crack initiation tests
microspecimens were carried out on a microtest-
ing machine. Figure 4 gives the distribution of The purpose of designing burnt-notched, com-
strength and ductility of the welded joint. It is pact tension specimens (notched-CT specimens)
obvious that the weld metal and HAZ do not was to investigate the crack initiation, early
have the same mechanical properties anywhere growth behaviour and crack growth. The
as confirmed by strength and ductility. geometry of the specimens and experimental
procedure were designed with reference to the
2.3 Low-cycle fatigue tests requirements of ASTM E647. The details of the
specimen geometry are shown in Fig. 5. In order
The LCF tests were performed on a closed-loop, to obtain the fatigue crack initiation behaviour in
servo-hydraulic INSTRON-1341 test machine by each zone of the welded joint, the notches were
means of controlled total axial strain amplitude. located at different welding zones. According to
The cyclic loading was conducted at room the location of the notches, the specimens were
temperature with the applied signal being a fully also divided into three types, i.e. weld metal
reversed triangular wave at various strain specimen, HAZ specimen and base metal
amplitude. The strain was measured by using a specimen. For WM specimen, the notch was put
strain gauge clipped on in the axial direction. The at the centre of weld metal along the welding
LCF life N, was defined to be the number of direction. For the HAZ specimen, the notch root
cycles corresponding to a 20% reduction of was located on the coarse-grain zone, that is
tensile stress from that corresponding to half life. O-5 mm apart from the fusion line. For BM

Table 2: Mechanical properties of 16MnR steel and weld metal

Material Yield strength Ultimate strength Elongation Reduction of area

us WW fib WW 6 (%) IL (%I
Base metal 385.0 588.0 28.3 56.4
Weld metal 459.7 624.0 19.3 55.6
232 Guangxu Cheng et al.

Table 3: Welding conditions (interpass temperature Max. 1OVC)

Multi-pass Welding current Arc voltage Speed

(A) 09 (cm/min)

First welding layer 620-630 30-35 38-44

Second welding layer 630-640 35-40 38-44
Third welding layer 630-640 35-40 38-44

specimen, the notch was put at the homogeneous metal cyclically softens at low strain amplitude; at
base metal. These specimens ensured that the higher strain amplitude, it initially softened and
fatigue crack initiation occurred in the weld subsequently hardened as the cyclic load
metal, HAZ and base metal respectively. Fatigue proceeded. Thus the cyclic deformation resis-
tests were conducted at a constant load with tance was markedly different for the three zones
frequency of 10Hz (triangular waveform). The in the welded joint.
maximum load P,,,,, = 15 KN and stress ratio (R)
was 0.1. A KRAK-GAGE potential drop system 3.2 Cyclic stress-strain curves nd plastic strain
shown in Fig. 6 was used to detect the crack energy
initiation and measure the crack length. A
KRAK-GAUGE is a thin foil strain gauge The cyclic stress/strain curves were drawn up by
attached on one side of the specimen surface at connecting the positive (tensile) peaks of the
the notch root. It would crack in sympathy with stable hysteresis loops for various strain ranges.
the crack of the specimen. If the origin of coordinate axes is transformed to
the tip of the compressive cycles, the stress/strain
curve is similar to hysteresis loops for Masing
3 LOW-CYCLE FATIGUE BEHAVIOUR materials, a relation of hysteresis loop or cyclic
OF WELDED JOINT WITH MECHANICAL stress/strain curve is,
3.1 Cyclic response of stress during the life
where: A&/2 is strain amplitude; Au/2 is stress
Many experimental results indicate that most amplitude; II’ is cyclic strain hardening exponent;
materials show a certain degree of cyclic K’ is the cyclic strength coefficient.
softening and hardening during the cyclic loading
test. The cyclic hardening and softening be-
haviour is represented by plotting the peak
tensile stress amplitude versus number of cycles.
In our experiment, the variation of stress
amplitude with cycles N is plotted in Fig. 7. They
show that weld metal exhibits cyclic softening
during initial cycles, then the material reaches the
stage of saturation stress. HAZ softens slightly
under cyclic loading. It was noted that the base
Weld metal
Base metal

Fusion line

Fig. 1. Fatigue test specimenswere machined out from Fig. 2. The geometry of specimensfor fatigue damagetest:
welded plate. (a) basemetal: (b) weld metal; (c) heat-affected zone.
Fatigue behaviour for welded joint with mechanical heterogeneity 233

Weld metal , Soecimen Here, n” and K” are cyclic hardening exponent

and cyclic strength coefficient of the basic
hysteresis loop respectively, in which the origin
of coordinate axes is chosen on the tip of the
negative cycle; Sa is the deviation between lower
tip stresses and origin stress or the deviation
between yield stress of basic loop and apparent
loop. Since the fatigue damage process is
generally caused by the cyclic plastic strain, the
plastic strain energy is often assumed as a failure
parameter. The plastic strain energy per cycle,
AW,, is the area of the hysteresis loop. For
Masing material, the hysteresis loop is described
by eqn. (l), and the strain energy may be
determined by means of expression,
AW, = - AUAE,

Here, Aa is stress amplitude, AE~ is plastic strain

amplitude. A relationship is proposed which can
Fig. 3. The geometry of the microspecimen.
be used to determine the plastic strain energy per
cycle for a non-Masing material.’

1 -n” 2n”
For non-Masing materials, eqn (1) in this formula AW, = - AcAE, + - &he, (4)
is unsuitable to be used to describe the cyclic 1 +n” 1 +n”
hysteresis loop curves; the hysteresis loop may be
The experimental results show that the 16MnR
expressed as4
steel appears markedly to give non-Masing type
behaviour, but the weld metal follows approxim-
(2) ately the Masing type description and HAZ
accords with the Masing behaviour basically, as
shown in Fig. 8.
Therefore, the plastic strain energy of weld
metal and HAZ should be calculated by eqn. (3),
but the plastic strain energy of the base metal
should be calculated by eqn. (4). For low-cycle
fatigue failure, a relationship of AW, and fatigue
life Nf was fitted by using,
AW, = A(2NJ” (5)

where, the coefficients of A and (I! are determined

by fatigue test. In this test, the hysteresis loop at
D the half-life is taken to be representive and is
2 0
used to calculate the plastic strain energy. In the
E strain-controlled fatigue test, the plastic strain
xb 0 iz
energy per cycle does not vary appreciably with
cycles, and W, varies evidently only in initial
cycles and in a few final cycles in which
-3 0 3 6 9
0 macro-cracks are formed. Therefore, the total
distance x (mm) plastic strain energy of form
Fig. 4. The distribution of strength and ductility in the
welded joint. W, = AW, . Nf = B(2N,)@ (6)
234 Guangxu Cheng et al.

1 2-09

+ Wely metal

Bt +
I +
(BM) ww (=w cw
Fig. 5. Geometry of notched-CT specimen.

was fitted by using the least-squares errors versus reversed cycles to failure 2N,. The results
technique and the relationships of W, vs. Nf were: as double logarithmic plots of fatigue life curves
for base metal: W, = 924-385(2Nf)o,2739 for each zone of welded joint tested at different
completely reversed strain ranges are shown in
for weld metal: W, = 667-936(2Nf)o’2”94 m Fig. 9, in which good linear relationships of
for HAZ: W, = 793.261(2N,)“‘2462 (74 plastic strain amplitude versus fatigue life are
It is noted that the experimental data follow found.
closely the relations in eqns (7). Laws relating plastic strain range to fatigue life
have been suggested by several investigators.
3.3 Low-cycle fatigue life curves of welded Manson-Coffin suggested that the relationship
joints between plastic strain amplitude and fatigue life
may be expressed by [6]:
Although the nature of LCF is attributed to
damage accumulation of plastic strain, the fatigue
kP-- e;(2NJc (8)
test is more complicated in terms of controlled
plastic strain. In general, the LCF test is Here E: is cyclic ductility coefficient; c is cyclic
performed on constant-controlled total strain strength exponent. Since the fatigue life of metal
amplitude, and the fatigue life analysis is done by may be greatly affected by cyclic plastic strain,
fatigue curve of total strain amplitude A42 the relationship between the plastic strain
amplitude and fatigue life for each zone is
compared in Fig. 10. It is clear that the fatigue
life of base metal is the longest, and the fatigue

IA i--aIconst.

100 mAi
life of HAZ is the shortest. In practical welding
structures, there are usually stress concentrations
in HAZ due to geometric weld discontinuities
which can be detrimental to fatigue life.
to loo ImV
Therefore the HAZ is the critical zone for the
D whole welded joint. The fatigue damage ac-
t 88.8 const.
(internal Ref. Voltage)
cumulation of welded joints formed simul-
B taneously in the three zones, and the cyclic
Fig. 6. The KRAK-GAGE potential drop system. fatigue characteristics are also the synthetical
Fatigue behaviour for welded joint with mechanical heterogeneity 235

\ *ad2(%; = 2.42%

Base metal
0 Fatigue failure
x Experimental Data
102 I03
Reversal cycles 2N

Weld metal
x Fatigue failure
. Experimental Data

10' 102 I03 IO4

\ Ae,/2(%),= 2.49%

‘\ ;
HAZ \ \
x Fatigue failure \ \
l Experimental Data

loon I I I
IO’ 102 I03 IO4

Fig. 7. Variation of stress amplitude with number of cycles for (a) base metal; (b) weld metal: (c) HAZ.

expression of each zone. The weld metal and zone (HAZ) should be used as the fatigue
HAZ do not have the same fatigue property parameter of the whole welded joint. Therefore,
parameters anywhere as confirmed by cyclic fairly accurate estimates of fatigue life for
hysteresis loops, cyclic response and LCF life. In weldment can be obtained using a local
order to ensure the integrity of the engineering experimental approach on HAZ and weld metal,
structures, the fatigue parameters of the weakest respectively.
236 Guangxu Cheng et al.

(a) (b) (cl


r 1200
2 800 2 800
b 600 b 600
a a

400 600

At (%) At (46) At (96)

Fig. 8. Cyclic hysteresis loop plotted with matched lower branches: (a) base metal; (b) weld metal; (c) HAZ.

4 FATIGUE DAMAGE DEVELOPMENT 4.2 Low-cycle fatigue damage evolution of

IN WELDED JOINTS welded joint

4.1 Definition of fatigue damage variable Low-cycle fatigue damage evolution can be
described by a suitable dissipation potential.
According to our experimental results, we
Most fatigue failure events are not all of fatigue obtained the following damage evolution
crack growth directly from internal welded process?
defects; cracks are formed on the surface of the
weld toe where stress is concentrated, the crack D~=Db(l-[1-(x)“““‘]““‘“3 (10)
growth then leads to the structure fracturing
completely. In comparison with crack propaga-
tion, the damage process before macrocrack Here, 0: is the critical damage value; /? is a
formation occupies the greatest fatigue life of the material constant determined by experiment. Ni
structure. Therefore, it is very important to is fatigue initiation life. According to this
investigate the damage process and physical equation, the fatigue damage rate is influenced
mechanism of damage development in a welded by the value of material ductility + and critical
zone. Continuum damage mechanics has prov- damage variable 0: (material constant
ided a method for analyzing the damage parameter).
evolution or development process of microcracks, From the experimental results of low-cycle
voids and microstructure heterogeneity by fatigue damage tests for weld metal, HAZ and
introducing a damage variable D into the base metal respectively, the damage behaviour of
constitutive relation of material. Under the welded joints after some cycles of loading, and
hypothesis of isotropy, the authors defined a new the damage parameters of 0: and p were
damage variable’ determined through the experimental data.
Consequently, we get the damage evolutions in
1 three welding zones:
In -
( l-(8 >
Dti=l- (9) for base metal:
In -
( l-ti >
D~=O~707{l-[l-(~~z941,,,9} (lla)
where, + is an original reduction of section area,
$ is a remaining reduction of section area after for weld metal:
loading cycles. Now the damage variable has
been applied to study the damage evolution of .~=O+317{l-[l-(~,)=5*~33’] (llb)
welded joints.
Fatigue behaviour for welded joint with mechanical heterogeneity 237

10“ r
Strain-controlled test Base metal

l @ Base metal
x @ Weld metal
NT41 I
10 10-4 I I I I
10’ 102 103 IO4 105
IO' 102 103 IO4 IO5

Fig. 10. The relationship of plastic strain amplitude vs

Strain-controlled test Weldmetal fatigue life for each zone.

Evidently, the damage evolution rates of weld

metal, HAZ and base metal are different.
Comparing them, we find that while the damage
rate of HAZ rises steeply, the damage rate of
base metal shows a comparatively even rise. In
an attempt to correlate this damage process with
damage micromechanism, the fracture surface of
1041 I I I I I a fatigue damaged specimen was analyzed by
10 10’ 102 103 IO4 105 scanning electronic microscopic (SEM); the
W observation showed that the physical mechanism
of damage was different in these three zones. The
100 damage appearance in the weld metal is mainly
Strain-controlled test HAZ
of dimples and there are a large number of
nonmetallic inclusions or secondary particles.
Fatigue damage initiates firstly from the bound-
ary of particles and these particles averaged
microcrack initiation. Because plastic deforma-

O.91 0 l Basemetal R=O

0 x Weldmetal
10-41 I I I I I “* t @ AHAZ
IO 10’ 102 103 104 105 0.7t
n 0.6-

Fig. 9. The relation of strain amplitude vs fatigue life for 3 0.5-

welded joint. E
; 0.4 -

0.3 -
for HAZ:

Dy’=O.788{1- [l- ($=‘I”““} (llc)

Test results presented in Fig. 11 indicate that Life ratiosN/N,

there is a good agreement between experimental Fig. 11. Fatigue damageevolutions of each zone in welded
data and values calculated by eqns (11). joint.
238 Guangxu Cheng et al.

tion in inclusions is more difficult than that in the growth rate da/dN vs crack length a is observed.
matrix such inclusions separate from the matrix Evidently, the crack growth rate is very slow as
at one or two points of the boundary along the the crack length increasing within the range of
tension direction. It can be seen that the local O-05 - 0.5 mm, but it evidently increases after the
weak zone of weld metal is near inclusions. crack length reaches O-5 mm. The variations of
Turning to the HAZ, there are a lot of large da/dN vs a show that with either BM, WM or
grains and local brittle phases due to the heat HAZ, the da/dN decreases with increase of crack
cycle in welding process. Slips occur more easily length in small crack regions. When a crack
in the interior of grains than that at grain grows up to a, in length, a dropped point
boundaries so that inhomogeneous slip and local appeared on da/dN vs a curves (a, is equal to
plastic strain concentrations occur at the grain about O-5 mm for BM specimen, 0.23 mm for
boundaries. Dislocation concentrations are HAZ and O-2mm for WM specimen). In this
formed on large size boundaries, which makes paper the initiation life (Ni) is defined as the
stress concentration at the boundaries. When the number of cycles to initiate a crack of 0.5 mm in
peak stress overtakes critical stress value, the length.
grain boundaries will separate from each other. The experimental results are summarized in
The fatigue life reduction of HAZ is explained in Table 4. It shows that the crack initiation life in
terms of the local plastic strain concentration WM, HAZ and BM is different. It also can be
caused from local ductility exhaustion. For the seen from Table 4 that the crack initiation life of
base metal, the material has good ductility. the welding zone is 30% of the total failure life
Plastic deformation is in progress through slip. (N,). Therefore, about 30% of fatigue life will be
When the cycle number is not too large, slip neglected, if common design methods based on
occur only in individual grains and is distributed linear elastic fracture mechanics of pre-crack
uniformly. With the cycle number increasing, specimens are used to predict the fatigue life for
some slip bands widened as well as some new slip welded joints. Results presented in Fig. 12 show
bands occurred. When two slip bands intersected the possibility of crack initiation life estimation
in a grain, this resulted in the microcrack for weldment, and the study leads to the
initiation. conclusion that a fairly accurate fatigue life
design method should include the crack initiation
5 FATIGUE CRACK INITIATION AND A new methodology has been presented by the
GROWTH FROM NOTCH ROOT FOR authors for predicting the initiation life based on
WELDED JOINTS damage mechanics. Fig. 13 shows the relation
between da/dN and AK in base metal, weld
The experimental results of fatigue crack metal and HAZ. For longer cracks (a > a,), the
initiation for each zone of welded joints are relationship between da/dN and AK is a simple
shown in Fig. 12, in which the variation of crack straight line in double logarithmic coordinates.

a (mm)
Fig. 12. Variation of fatigue crack growth rate vs crack length.
Fatigue behaviour for welded joint with mechanical heterogeneity 239

Table 4: Fatigue life in three different zones for welded the three zones in welded joints. Furthermore,
joints the variation law of da/dN with AK is related to
Material Total life N, Life ratio of NJN,(%) the fracture mechanism. The fractographic
examination on fracture surfaces for both crack
Base Metal 51739 34.9 initiation and crack growth was performed by
Weld Metal 60439 20.6
HAZ 52599 31.7 SEM to discuss the effect of the microstructure
on the fracture mechanism. It was observed that
the fracture surface between crack initiation and
crack growth was different both in macroscopic
To compare the experimental data in Fig. 13, and microscopic aspects.
the following equation suggested by Paris has In the range of low levels of AK, the fracture
been applied surface of crack initiation is relatively flat and
composed of many straight lines in parallel with
daldN = C(AK)m the direction of crack growth. Striations are not
apparent in the crack initiation zones. The
where the parameters of C and m could be
patterns of cleavage-like river lines are evident
determined from our experimental data by using
the least square method, and following equations and some ridges can be observed. Secondary
cracks were also present in most instances at low
were obtained.
levels of AK. Typical SEM fractographs are
for base metal: shown in Fig. 14. It should be emphasized that
the crack initiation zone is not confined to one
da/dN = 2.1 X 10-10(AK)8’86 (124 grain size but extends over several grain sizes.
Turning to the behaviour in the range of high
for weld metal:
levels of AK, the fracture surface of crack growth
da/dN = 9.44 X 10-10(AK)5’3’ (1W is almost covered by striation-like markings. The
presence of striations indicated that these
for HAZ: specimens experienced a ductile fatigue fracture.
It was shown from fractographic analysis that
da/dN = 8.35 X 10-10(AK)3’4’ (124 crack initiation and crack growth were controlled
The crack growth rate is evidently different for by two different fracture models. The crack
initiation results from dislocation motion along
the slip plane and dislocation motion is
determined by the magnitude of shear stress on
the slip plane. Microcracks initiated either at the
matrix-inclusion interface or brittle non-metallic
inclusions near ‘the notch root surface. Small
cracks generally continue growing along the slip
plane and exhibit no feature at fracture surface.
Therefore, the crack initiation life is influenced
by microstructure and shear stress/strain. For
crack growth stage, the path of crack growth on
the planes which are normal to the maximum
principal tensile stress generally involve micro-
scopic striations. The crack growth stage is
mainly dependent on the stress intensity factor.
xWM Therefore, the material and mechanical heterog-
eneous of welding joint has a strong influence on
the fatigue initiation life strongly and to a smaller
extent on crack growth life. As mentioned above,
20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 the different stages of crack growth correspond to
bK(MPaG different fracture models, the transformation of
Fig. 13. Crack growth rate plotted against stress intensity fracture-mechanism models depends on factors
range in three zones. such as: material; environment condition; test
240 Guangxu Cheng et al.

Fig. 14. Behaviour and micromechanism in each phase of fatigue crack growth.

condition; stress intensity factor. In this test, the

main purpose is the investigation of the effect of HAZ:
material properties on the crack growth rate and
fracture mechanism. It is found that the main weld metal:
controlling factors of fracture mechanism are the
material yield strength CT,and grain size d. If the
multiple factor of (Art/d) is used to express this Here, ArT, is the reverse plastic size at fatigue
influence law, the order of the multiple factors in crack tip; it is given by
each zone can be obtained from the experimental 2
results: as follows:

for base metal:

where, AK is stress intensity factor amplitude, (Y’
Fatigue behaviour for welded joint with mechanical heterogeneity 241

is the coefficient. The effect of multiple factor on loops and calculation formulae of hysteresis
fracture mechanism is shown in Fig. 14. energy for Masing and non-Masing material were
established. The calculated values were com-
pared with experimental data: the values agree
6 DISCUSSION OF WEAKEST-CHAIN well with the results of experimental tests.
MODEL OF WELDED JOINTS The characteristics of hysteresis loops show
that the base metal of 16MnR appears obviously
From the results described above, it seems that to follow a non-Masing description, but weld
fatigue life prediction may be calculated possible metal and HAZ follow approximately Masing
by the plastic strain at a local region. The total behaviour. It is apparent that the mechanical
plastic displacement of a welded joint specimen, heterogeneity has an influence on the fatigue
Ae,L (L is a gauge length), is given by the behaviour. The experimental results indicate that
summation of the weld metal, HAZ and base the base metal undergoes cyclic hardening,
metal displacements: whereas weld metal and HAZ present cyclic
softening. Base metal has higher fatigue life than
A.spL = AEONL, -I- A.spHL, + AEONL, that of weld metal and HAZ for all strain
where, AEON, AEON and AcPB are plastic strain amplitudes. The results of low-cycle fatigue tests
ranges in the weld metal, HAZ and base metal, indicate that the fatigue life of HAZ is shortest
respectively; Lw, L, and L, are equivalent gauge compared with the life of base metal and weld
length of the weld metal, HAZ and base metal, metal. The lack of ductility in HAZ causes the
respectively, as shown in Fig. 15. reduction of its fatigue life. Fatigue behaviour of
The weakest-chain model means that the HAZ plays an important role in design of
welded joint is composed of three parts, and the welding structures.
three parts are imagined as three chains. The A new fatigue damage variable was defined
chain of shortest life is assumed the weakest and was applied to study the low-cycle fatigue
chain and the fatigue life of the weakest chain is damage of welded joints. Damage evolutions of
just the life of the welded joint. The life of the weld metal, HAZ and base metal were
weakest chain can be calculated by local damage investigated through continuum damage mechan-
theory. ics theory.
A circular-notched, compact tension specimen
was designed and the notches of the specimens
7 CONCLUSIONS were put on weld metal, HAZ and base metal,
respectively. The whole process of fatigue crack
In regard to the material and mechanical initiation and growth as well as the effect of
heterogeneity in welded joints, the low-cycle mechanical heterogeneity on the behaviour of
fatigue life and fatigue damage were studied for fatigue initiation and crack growth in each
weld metal, heat-affected zone and base metal of welded zone were investigated.
16 MnR pressure vessel steel, respectively. The The local failure criterion based on weakest-
characteristics of hysteresis loops and cyclic chain model has been presented for a welded
parameters in each zone of welded joints were joint. The fatigue life of welded joints with
obtained. Mathematical models of hysteresis mechanical heterogeneity can be predicted by
this local criterion.

The authors would like to express their
appreciation of the financial support by National
Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

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of three parts. Technology-I, Applied SciencePublishersLtd, 1979.
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(1978) 134-1.58. Mechanics, 48, (2), (1994) 281.
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Vess. Tech. (1984) 106, (4), 342. low-cycle fatigue and fatigue damageanalysisof welded
5. Cheng, G. X., et al., Low-cycle hysteresisenergy for joints, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, (to be published
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Metallurgical Sinica, 29, (7), (1993) A328.