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Strain-Life Fatigue Analysis

An EngineersToolbox Calculation Module

Back To ETBX Summary Strain-Life Fatigue Analysis An EngineersToolbox Calculation Module
Back To ETBX Summary Strain-Life Fatigue Analysis An EngineersToolbox Calculation Module Summary This module calculates the

Summary

This module calculates the fatigue life of a part under constant amplitude oscillatory loading assuming the strain range controls fatigue life.

The Strain-Life method is based on the observation that in many components the response of the material in critical locations such as notches is strain- or deformation-dependent. In the Strain- Life approach the plastic strain or deformation is directly measured and quantified. The Stress-Life approach does not account for plastic strain.

Although most engineering structures and components are designed such that the nominal loads remain elastic, stress concentrations often cause plastic strains to develop in the vicinity of notches. Due to the constraint imposed by the elastically-stressed material surrounding the plastic zone, deformation at the notch root is considered strain-controlled.

Crack growth is not explicitly accounted for in the Strain-Life method. Because of this, Strain-Life methods are often considered crack initiation life estimates. For some applications, the existence of a crack is an overly conservative criterion for failure. In these situations, fracture mechanics methods may be employed to determine crack propagation life from an assumed initial crack size to a final crack length. Total lives are then reported as the sum of the initiation and propagation segments.

The local Strain-Life approach has gained acceptance as a useful method of evaluating the fatigue life of a notched component. Both the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have recommended procedures and practices for conducting strain-controlled tests and using these data to predict fatigue lives.

Background Information

Monotonic Stress-Strain Behavior

Monotonic stress-strain curves such as the one shown in Figure 1 have long been used to obtain design parameters for limiting stresses on engineering structures and components subjected to static loading.

Figure 1: Typical Monotonic Stress-Strain Curve The engineering stress-strain curve shown in red is obtained by

Figure 1: Typical Monotonic Stress-Strain Curve

The engineering stress-strain curve shown in red is obtained by means of a tension test, in which a cylindrical specimen is subjected to a continually rising, monotonic, uniaxial load. The elongation of the specimen is measured, and engineering stress and strain values are derived as described below.

The engineering stress is the average longitudinal stress in the specimen, and is given by:

Figure 1: Typical Monotonic Stress-Strain Curve The engineering stress-strain curve shown in red is obtained by

where:

is the applied load

is the applied load

is the original unloaded cross-sectional area

is the original unloaded cross-sectional area

The engineering strain is the average linear strain, obtained from:

 
is the applied load is the original unloaded cross-sectional area The engineering strain is the average

where:

is the original unstrained specimen length is the strained length

is the original unstrained specimen length is the strained length

The true stress-strain curve, shown in black, is calculated using the instantaneous length and area, instead of average values. The true stress is the load P divided by the instantaneous cross- sectional area A, and is always larger than the engineering stress:

Figure 1: Typical Monotonic Stress-Strain Curve The engineering stress-strain curve shown in red is obtained by

The true strain is calculated by taking the integral from the original length to the instantaneous

length:

length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can

Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S u ), true stress and strain can be related to engineering stress and strain using the following equations:

length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can
length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can

The true fracture strength is the true stress at final fracture, and is calculated by:

length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can

where:

  • is the load at fracture
    is the measured cross-sectional area at fracture

The true fracture strain is the true strain at final fracture, and is calculated by:

length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can

where:

length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can

is the reduction in cross-sectional area of the specimen

The true fracture strength and true fracture ductility are alternative measurements for strength (e.g., S U , S Y ) and ductility (e.g., %Elongation, %Reduction Area).

The modulus of elasticity is defined by the slope of the stress-strain curve in the elastic region,

shown in Figure 1.

Elastic strain is then given by:

length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can

The plastic region of the stress-strain curve to the right of the ultimate stress S u can often be

adequately modeled using an empirically-derived power equation:

where:

  • is the strength coefficient

length: Until necking occurs (at the ultimate tensile strength S ), true stress and strain can
is the strain hardening exponent The total true strain is the algebraic sum of the elastic

is the strain hardening exponent

The total true strain is the algebraic sum of the elastic and plastic strains:

is the strain hardening exponent The total true strain is the algebraic sum of the elastic

Therefore the true stress-strain curve shown in Figure 1 can be adequately modeled using the Stress-Strain Relationship, given by:

Cyclic Stress-Strain Behavior

is the strain hardening exponent The total true strain is the algebraic sum of the elastic

If the loading process shown in Figure 1 is reversed and the specimen is unloaded after yielding, the stress-strain relationship will follow a line with a slope equivalent to the elastic modulus E, as illustrated by segment A-B in Figure 2. Note that if the specimen is then subjected to a compressive load to - max , the material yields at a stress level that is less than the yield stress

Y . An observation, first made by Massing in 1926, is that the stress-strain curve A-C can be obtained by doubling the values of the stress-strain curve O-A.

is the strain hardening exponent The total true strain is the algebraic sum of the elastic

Figure 2: Stress-strain behavior after a reversal

If the loading process shown in Figure 2 is continued from - max to + max , then a hysteresis loop will result as shown in Figure 3. The hysteresis loop defines a single fatigue cycle in the Strain-Life method. Note that the stress and strain amplitudes are 1/2 the total stress and strain ranges. The area within the loop is the energy per unit volume dissipated during a cycle.

Figure 3: Typical Cyclic Stress-Strain Curve When subjected to strain-controlled cyclic loading, the stress-strain response of

Figure 3: Typical Cyclic Stress-Strain Curve

When subjected to strain-controlled cyclic loading, the stress-strain response of a material can change with the number of applied cycles. If the maximum stress increases with each successive cycle, the material is said to cyclically harden. If the maximum stress decreases with the number of cycles, the material is said to cyclically soften. If the maximum stress level does not change, the material is said to be cyclically stable. Transient material behavior tends to stabilize after a relatively small number of cycles - typically less than 10% of the total life.

Cyclic Stress-Strain Curve

The cyclic stress-strain curve defines the relationship between stress and strain under cyclic loading conditions. It is therefore different than the true stress-strain curve for monotonic loading shown in Figure 1. However, the cyclic stress-strain curve can be directly compared with the monotonic stress-strain curve to determine the effects of cyclic loading.

Like the monotonic stress-strain curve, the cyclic stress-strain curve is comprised of both elastic and plastic strains:

Figure 3: Typical Cyclic Stress-Strain Curve When subjected to strain-controlled cyclic loading, the stress-strain response of

The expression for the Cyclic Stress-Strain Curve is identical to the monotonic stress-strain relationship, except that the power law constants are different:

Figure 3: Typical Cyclic Stress-Strain Curve When subjected to strain-controlled cyclic loading, the stress-strain response of

where:

Figure 3: Typical Cyclic Stress-Strain Curve When subjected to strain-controlled cyclic loading, the stress-strain response of

is the cyclic strength coefficient is the cyclic strain hardening exponent

Cyclic stress-strain curves may be obtained from tests by several methods. Two of these are:

Companion Samples - A series of companion samples are tested at various strain levels until the hysteresis loops become stabilized. The stable hysteresis loops are then superimposed and the tips of the loops are connected by a line. This method is time consuming and requires many specimens. Incremental Step Test - This method has become widely accepted, as it is very quick and provides good results. One specimen is subjected to a series of blocks of gradually increasing and decreasing strain amplitude. After a few blocks the material stabilizes. The cyclic stress-strain curve can be determined by connecting the tips of the stabilized hysteresis loops. After the Incremental Step test, if the specimen is pulled to failure, the resulting stress-strain curve will be nearly identical to that obtained from the Companion Samples test.

Hysteresis Curve Equation

The hysteresis loop is defined using values ( , ) that are relative to some point ( , ) in stress-strain space. Massing's Hypothesis states that the stabilized hysteresis loop may be obtained by doubling the stress and strain values from the cyclic stress-strain curve. Therefore a point on the hysteresis curve ( , ) can be related to the cyclic stress strain values ( , )

by the following:

Companion Samples - A series of companion samples are tested at various strain levels until

Substituting for ( , ) into the cyclic stress-strain curve equation gives:

Companion Samples - A series of companion samples are tested at various strain levels until

and rewriting in general form gives the Hysteresis Curve Equation:

Companion Samples - A series of companion samples are tested at various strain levels until

The use of Massing's hypothesis allows the stabilized hysteresis loop to be estimated only for materials that exhibit symmetric behavior in tension and compression. The Strain-Life method is not valid for a material that exhibits a different response in tension and compression (e.g., gray cast iron).

Strain-Life Behavior

In 1910, Basquin observed that Stress-Life data could be modeled using a power relationship, which results in a straight line on a log-log plot. This observation corresponds to elastic material behavior in the Strain-Life approach. The Basquin equation can be expressed in terms of true elastic strain amplitude as:

is the elastic component of the cyclic strain amplitude is the cyclic stress amplitude is

where:

  • is the elastic component of the cyclic strain amplitude
    is the cyclic stress amplitude
    is the regression intercept called the fatigue strength coefficient
    is the number of cycles to failure is the regression slope called the fatigue strength exponent

is the elastic component of the cyclic strain amplitude is the cyclic stress amplitude is

In the 1950's Coffin and Manson independently found that plastic Strain-Life data could also be modeled using a power relationship:

is the elastic component of the cyclic strain amplitude is the cyclic stress amplitude is

where:

  • is the plastic component of the cyclic strain amplitude
    is the regression intercept called the fatigue ductility coefficient
    is the number of cycles to failure

    • is the regression slope called the fatigue ductility exponent

The Strain-Life Curve can be formed by summing the elastic and plastic components:

is the elastic component of the cyclic strain amplitude is the cyclic stress amplitude is
is the elastic component of the cyclic strain amplitude is the cyclic stress amplitude is

The influence of the elastic and plastic components on the strain-life curve is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Typical Strain-Life Curve The transition life 2N represents the life at which the elastic

Figure 4: Typical Strain-Life Curve

The transition life 2N t represents the life at which the elastic and plastic strain ranges are equivalent. It can be expressed by the following:

Figure 4: Typical Strain-Life Curve The transition life 2N represents the life at which the elastic

As shown in Figure 4, elastic strains have a greater influence on fatigue lives above the transition life. Plastic strains have a greater influence below the transition life. Thus the transition life provides a convenient delineation between low-cycle and high-cycle fatigue regimes.

Note that at long fatigue lives the fatigue strength ( f '/E) controls the fatigue performance and the Strain-Life and Stress-Life approaches give essentially the same results. For short fatigue lives, plastic strain is dominant and fatigue ductility ( f ') controls the fatigue performance. The optimum material is therefore one that has both high ductility and high strength. Unfortunately, there is usually a trade-off between these two properties and a compromise must be made for the expected load or strain conditions being considered.

Mean Stress Effects

Most basic S-N fatigue data collected in the laboratory is generated using a fully-reversed stress cycle. However, actual loading applications usually involve a mean stress on which the oscillatory stress is superimposed. For details on the parameters used to define a stress cycle with both alternating and mean stress, see the Stress-Analysis module.

The effect of mean stress on the strain-life curve is shown schematically in Figure 5. Mean stress primarily affects component life in the high-cycle regime, with compressive means extending life and tensile means reducing it. In the plastic regime, large cyclic plastic strains cause mean stress

relaxation, and any mean stress tends towards zero.

relaxation, and any mean stress tends towards zero. Figure 5: Effect of mean stress on Strain-Life

Figure 5: Effect of mean stress on Strain-Life curve

Morrow was the first to propose a modification to the baseline strain-life curve to account for the effect of mean stress. His approach was to alter the value of the fatigue strength coefficient in the elastic component of the stress-strain relationship:

relaxation, and any mean stress tends towards zero. Figure 5: Effect of mean stress on Strain-Life

where

relaxation, and any mean stress tends towards zero. Figure 5: Effect of mean stress on Strain-Life

is the mean stress.

In this equation, tensile mean stresses are positive ( > 0), and compressive means are negative ( < 0) .

In terms of the strain-life relationship, the Morrow Mean Stress Correction can be expressed by:

relaxation, and any mean stress tends towards zero. Figure 5: Effect of mean stress on Strain-Life

where the mean stress is positive for tensile stress and negative for compressive stress.

Figure 6 illustrates the effect of a tensile mean stress in modifying the strain-life curve using the Morrow equation.

Figure 6: Effect of mean stress on strain-life curve (Morrow Correction) A different method for modifying

Figure 6: Effect of mean stress on strain-life curve (Morrow Correction)

A different method for modifying the strain-life curve to account for mean stress was proposed by Smith, Watson, and Topper. Their approach uses the Basquin relation relating the maximum

stress max of a fully-reversed cycle to fatigue life:

Figure 6: Effect of mean stress on strain-life curve (Morrow Correction) A different method for modifying

Multiplying the strain-life equation by this term gives the Smith-Watson-Topper (SWT) Mean Stress Correction:

Figure 6: Effect of mean stress on strain-life curve (Morrow Correction) A different method for modifying

The SWT equation predicts that no fatigue damage occurs when the maximum stress is zero or negative (i.e., compressive), which is not always true. Therefore the Morrow correction should be used for loading sequences that are predominantly compressive. In cases of predominantly

tensile loading, the SWT approach is more conservative than the Morrow approach and is thus recommended.

Notch Behavior

An understanding of the local stress-strain behavior at a notch root is required to account for the effects of notches in Strain-Life fatigue predictions. Local stress-strain behavior may be determined by the following methods:

Strain gage measurements Finite element analysis Simplified Analysis Using Stress Concentration Factor Kt or Fatigue Notch Factor Kf

Figure 7: Nominal and Local Stress Regions For design purposes, the third alternative is often the

Figure 7: Nominal and Local Stress Regions

For design purposes, the third alternative is often the most convenient. In this approach, stress- strain fields in the immediate vicinity of a stress concentration are related to the remote stresses and strains determined from fatigue tests of smooth specimens. Consider Figure 7, where the maximum stress concentrations are at the edges of the hole. If conditions at both the nominal and local regions remain purely elastic, then the theoretical elastic stress concentration factor Kt is equal to both the local stress concentration factor K ( /S) and the local strain concentration

factor K ( /e), that is:

Figure 7: Nominal and Local Stress Regions For design purposes, the third alternative is often the

However, once the material yields at the notch tip, the stress concentration factor K

decreases

with respect to Kt and the strain concentration K factor increases with respect to Kt. For

plastic deformation, Neuber proposed that the elastic stress concentration factor Kt can be

approximated by the geometric mean of the stress and strain concentration factors K

and K

.

Neuber's Rule is thus given by:

Figure 7: Nominal and Local Stress Regions For design purposes, the third alternative is often the

Experience has shown that the use of the theoretical stress concentration factor Kt in the application of Neuber's rule gives conservative life estimates when life is judged on the failure of the component. A modified approach using the Fatigue Notch Factor Kf is recommended for life predictions corresponding to component failure:

which may be rewritten as:

or finally:

Figure 7: Nominal and Local Stress Regions For design purposes, the third alternative is often the
Figure 7: Nominal and Local Stress Regions For design purposes, the third alternative is often the
Figure 7: Nominal and Local Stress Regions For design purposes, the third alternative is often the

Combining this equation with the cyclic stress-strain equation gives:

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that: Substituting this relation into

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that:

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that: Substituting this relation into

Substituting this relation into the hysteresis equation gives:

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that: Substituting this relation into

where:

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that: Substituting this relation into

is the nominal strain range is the local strain range is the nominal stress range is the local stress range

The Neuber Method is commonly used to estimate elastic-plastic stresses and strains at the roots of notches on the basis of elastic nominal stresses and strains at a remote location. For fully elastic behavior in the nominal region, nominal stresses and strains are related by:

and Neuber's equation reduces to:

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that: Substituting this relation into

For limited yielding in the nominal region, the true stress and strain can be approximated by the nominal stress and strain:

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that: Substituting this relation into

and Neuber's equation can be written as:

Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that: Substituting this relation into

For significant plasticity in the nominal region, where general yielding occurs in the component, Neuber's rule may give non-conservative predictions. Modifications to Neuber's have been proposed to account for this case. Seeger proposed one such modification:

For significant plasticity in the nominal region, where general yielding occurs in the component, Neuber's rule

where K p is the ratio of the stress at the onset of general yielding to the stress at initial notch yielding:

For significant plasticity in the nominal region, where general yielding occurs in the component, Neuber's rule

and S* is given by:

For significant plasticity in the nominal region, where general yielding occurs in the component, Neuber's rule

and e* is calculated from the cyclic stress-strain equation:

For significant plasticity in the nominal region, where general yielding occurs in the component, Neuber's rule

Note that the value of K p is a function of the loading type (e.g., axial, bending, torsion). Also note that at the load levels required to caused general yielding in the nominal stress region, failure criteria of general yielding and buckling must be considered.

Additional Notes

Fatigue life predictions may be made using the Strain-Life approach with the following information:

  • 1. Material properties obtained from smooth specimen strain controlled laboratory fatigue data (cyclic stress-strain response and Strain-Life data).

  • 2. Stress-strain history at the critical location (i.e., at a notch).

  • 3. Techniques for identifying damage counting (cycle counting).

  • 4. Methods to incorporate mean stress effects.

  • 5. Damage summation technique (e.g., Miner's Rule).

It is worthwhile to emphasize three cases where it is easy to lose track of a factor of 2 in the Strain-Life analysis and cause errors:

Cycles vs. Reversals - The strain life approach measures life in terms of reversals, 2Nf, whereas the Stress-Life method uses cycles (N). A reversal is one-half of a full cycle.

Range vs. Amplitude - The strain life approach uses both strain range and strain

Cyclic - Curve vs. Hysteresis Curve - Massing's hypothesis states that the hysteresis curve can be modeled as twice the cyclic stress-strain curve.

Input

The Singular Stress and Displacement Field module input form is shown in Figure 1.

Cyclic - Curve vs. Hysteresis Curve - Massing's hypothesis states that the hysteresis curve can

Figure 1: The module input form.

The Strain-Life problem is defined by first selecting the proper type of solution from the Solution Type pull-down menu. The required inputs fields for the Strain-Life analysis will depend on the selected solution type:

"Given S" - Input stress range S. "Given e" - Input strain range e. "Given N f " - Input cycles to failure N f . "Neuber's Rule" - Input stress range S, strain range e, and stress concentration factor K f .

All solution types will calculate the stabilized hysteresis curve, the stress and strain ranges, and the fatigue and transition life. The Strain-Life analysis assumes the material exhibits cyclically stable response from the initial loading. It does not account for cyclic hardening or softening of the material.

The modulus of elasticity may be input by accessing the ETB Materials Database module via the 'Materials' button.

Six material fatigue properties must be entered for the material:

Cyclic Strength Coefficient, K'

Cyclic Strain Hardening Exponent, n' Fatigue Strength Coefficient, f ' Fatigue Strength Exponent, b Fatigue Ductility Coefficient, f ' Fatigue Ductility Exponent, c

These material properties are not currently available in the ETB Materials database. Although K' and n' are usually obtained from a curve fit of the cyclic stress-strain data, the following relationships can be used if no experimental data is available:

Cyclic Strain Hardening Exponent, n' Fatigue Strength Coefficient, ' Fatigue Strength Exponent, b Fatigue Ductility

If no experimental data is available, a good approximation of f ' is the true fracture strength and a good approximation of f ' is the true fracture ductility (corrected for necking). In general, b varies between -0.05 to -0.12 for most metals and c, which is not as well defined as the other parameters, varies between -0.5 and -0.7 for most metals. Fairly ductile metals ( f ~ 1.0) have c values closer to -0.7 and strong metals ( f ~ 0.5) have c values closer to -0.5.

Mean stress effects must be accounted for by modifying the fatigue parameters as discussed in the Mean Stress Effects section above.

The user must be consistent with the units to get correct answers. For example, if the stress range S, cyclic strength coefficient K', and fatigue strength coefficient f ' are specified in Pascals

(Pa), the modulus of elasticity must be entered in Pascals, and the true stress range will be output in units of Pascals.

Results

Results are displayed using the standard ETB output window shown in Figure 2. The results displayed are:

Hysteresis Loop Data (stresses and strains at point 1 and 2 of the loop) The Stress and Strain Ranges The Fatigue Life and Transition Life (IN CYCLES)

Figure 2. Module tabulated results. References American Society for Testing and Materials ( 1969 ) "Manual

Figure 2. Module tabulated results.

References

American Society for Testing and Materials (1969) "Manual on Low Cycle Fatigue Testing," ASTM STP 465, ASTM (Philadelphia).

Bannantine, Julie; Comer, Jess; Handrock, James (1990) Fundamentals of Metal Fatigue Analysis, Prentice Hall (New Jersey).

Basquin O.H. (1910) "The Exponential Law of Endurance Tests," American Society for Testing and Materials Proceedings, Vol. 10.

Bauschinger, J. (1886) "Mitt. Mech.-Tech., Lab Munchen," Vol. 13, No. 1. Massing, G. (1926) Proc. 2nd Int. Cong. Appl. Mech. (Zurich).

Coffin Jr., L. F. (1954) "A Study of the Effects of Cyclic Thermal Stresses on a Ductile Metal," Trans. ASME, Vol. 76.

Dowling, N.E. (1982) "A discussion of Methods for Estimating Fatigue Life," Proceedings SAE Fatigue Conference, P-109, Society of Automotive Engineers (Warrendale, PA).

Graham, J.A. (ed.) (1968) SAE Fatigue Design Handbook, Vol. 4, Society of Automotive Engineers (Philadelphia).

Manson, S. S. (1953) "Behavior of Materials under Conditions of Thermal Stress," Heat Transfer Symposium, University of Michigan Engineering Research Institute.

Manson S. S. and Halford, G. R. (1981) "Practical Implementation of the Double Linear Damage Rule and Damage Curve Approach for Treating Cumulative Fatigue Damage," Int. J. Fract., Vol. 17, No. 2.

Morrow, J. (1965) "Cyclic Plastic Strain Energy and Fatigue of Metals," in "International Friction, Damping, and Cyclic Plasticity," ASTM STP 378, ASTM (Philadelphia).

Morrow, J. (1968) "Fatigue Design Handbook," Advances in Engineering, Vol. 4, Society of Automotive

Engineers (Philadelphia).

Neuber, H. (1961) "Theory of Stress Concentration for Shear-Strained Prismatical Bodies with Arbitrary Nonlinear Stress-Strain Laws," Journal of Applied Mechanics, Trans. ASME, Vol. E28, p. 544.

Topper, T.H., Wetzel, R.M., Morrow, J. (1969) "Neuber's Rule Applied to Fatigue Notched Specimens," J. Mater., Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 200-209.

Engineers (Philadelphia). Neuber, H. ( 1961 ) "Theory of Stress Concentration for Shear-Strained Prismatical Bodies with

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