Fatigue strength assessment of welded joints in the marine environment
A case study on the applications of local stress and fracture mechanics methods for analyzing non-load-carrying fillet-welded joints
Avainsanat:welded joint, fatigue, stress intensity factor, linear elastic fracture mechanics, effective notch stress
Welding is a commonly applied joining method in many applications in arctic and marine conditions, e.g., in ship and offshore structures, and energy production equipment. Such applications are usually subjected to fluctuating load conditions, and during a decades-long service, they may experience millions of load cycles. Consequently, fatigue strength design and acceptable flaw sizes in the welded details of these structures are among the most important design criteria. Multiple fatigue strength assessment approaches exist for assessing the fatigue strength of a welded detail. The present study introduces a numerical and analytical fatigue strength assessment, conducted on a non-load-carrying X-joint, which is a representative joint type used in many steel constructions. Fatigue analyses are carried out following the DNVGL-RP-C203 and BS7910:2013 fatigue design guidelines for offshore steel structures. The stress intensity factors (SIFs) for linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) analyses were obtained using three different methods: the weight function approach, the analytical equations provided in the IIW Recommendations, and by conducting numerical crack propagation analysis using the Franc2D software. All three methods had a good agreement particularly for short crack depths, indicating the applicability of the analytical approaches for the fatigue analyses. The results showed that the consideration of degree of bending at the welded detail is crucial due to the distinguishing notch stress factors of membrane and bending loading, and different stress distributions in the through-thickness direction. In addition, it was found that the LEFM-based fatigue life assessments are significantly more conservative than the life predictions obtained using the structural hot-spot and effective notch stress approaches.
Copyright (c) 2023 Antti Ahola, Timo Björk
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