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An EngineersToolbox Calculation Module
Summary
This module calculates the fatigue life of a part under constant amplitude oscillatory loading assuming the strain range controls fatigue life.
The StrainLife method is based on the observation that in many components the response of the material in critical locations such as notches is strain or deformationdependent. In the Strain Life approach the plastic strain or deformation is directly measured and quantified. The StressLife 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 elasticallystressed material surrounding the plastic zone, deformation at the notch root is considered straincontrolled.
Crack growth is not explicitly accounted for in the StrainLife method. Because of this, StrainLife 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 StrainLife 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 straincontrolled tests and using these data to predict fatigue lives.
Background Information
Monotonic StressStrain Behavior
Monotonic stressstrain 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 StressStrain Curve
The engineering stressstrain 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:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:} 

is the applied load 

is the original unloaded crosssectional area 

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



_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:} 

is the original unstrained specimen length is the strained length 
The true stressstrain 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:
The true strain is calculated by taking the integral from the original length to the instantaneous
length:
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:
The true fracture strength is the true stress at final fracture, and is calculated by:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:}
is the load at fracture
is the measured crosssectional area at fracture
The true fracture strain is the true strain at final fracture, and is calculated by:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:}
is the reduction in crosssectional 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 stressstrain curve in the elastic region,
shown in Figure 1.
Elastic strain is then given by:
The plastic region of the stressstrain curve to the right of the ultimate stress S _{u} can often be
adequately modeled using an empiricallyderived power equation:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:}
is the strength coefficient
is the strain hardening exponent
The total true strain is the algebraic sum of the elastic and plastic strains:
Therefore the true stressstrain curve shown in Figure 1 can be adequately modeled using the StressStrain Relationship, given by:
Cyclic StressStrain Behavior
If the loading process shown in Figure 1 is reversed and the specimen is unloaded after yielding, the stressstrain relationship will follow a line with a slope equivalent to the elastic modulus E, as illustrated by segment AB in Figure 2. Note that if the specimen is then subjected to a compressive load to  _{m}_{a}_{x} , 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 stressstrain curve AC can be obtained by doubling the values of the stressstrain curve OA.
Figure 2: Stressstrain behavior after a reversal
If the loading process shown in Figure 2 is continued from  _{m}_{a}_{x} to + _{m}_{a}_{x} , then a hysteresis loop will result as shown in Figure 3. The hysteresis loop defines a single fatigue cycle in the StrainLife 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 StressStrain Curve
When subjected to straincontrolled cyclic loading, the stressstrain 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 StressStrain Curve
The cyclic stressstrain curve defines the relationship between stress and strain under cyclic loading conditions. It is therefore different than the true stressstrain curve for monotonic loading shown in Figure 1. However, the cyclic stressstrain curve can be directly compared with the monotonic stressstrain curve to determine the effects of cyclic loading.
Like the monotonic stressstrain curve, the cyclic stressstrain curve is comprised of both elastic and plastic strains:
The expression for the Cyclic StressStrain Curve is identical to the monotonic stressstrain relationship, except that the power law constants are different:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:}
is the cyclic strength coefficient is the cyclic strain hardening exponent
Cyclic stressstrain 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 stressstrain 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 stressstrain 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 stressstrain space. Massing's Hypothesis states that the stabilized hysteresis loop may be obtained by doubling the stress and strain values from the cyclic stressstrain curve. Therefore a point on the hysteresis curve ( _{} , _{} ) can be related to the cyclic stress strain values ( _{} , _{} )
by the following:
Substituting for ( _{} , _{} ) into the cyclic stressstrain curve equation gives:
and rewriting in general form gives the Hysteresis Curve Equation:
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 StrainLife method is not valid for a material that exhibits a different response in tension and compression (e.g., gray cast iron).
StrainLife Behavior
In 1910, Basquin observed that StressLife data could be modeled using a power relationship, which results in a straight line on a loglog plot. This observation corresponds to elastic material behavior in the StrainLife approach. The Basquin equation can be expressed in terms of true elastic strain amplitude as:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:}
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
In the 1950's Coffin and Manson independently found that plastic StrainLife data could also be modeled using a power relationship:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:}
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 StrainLife Curve can be formed by summing the elastic and plastic components:
The influence of the elastic and plastic components on the strainlife curve is shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Typical StrainLife 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:
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 lowcycle and highcycle fatigue regimes.
Note that at long fatigue lives the fatigue strength ( _{f} '/E) controls the fatigue performance and the StrainLife and StressLife 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 tradeoff between these two properties and a compromise must be made for the expected load or strain conditions being considered.
Mean Stress Effects
Most basic SN fatigue data collected in the laboratory is generated using a fullyreversed 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 StressAnalysis module.
The effect of mean stress on the strainlife curve is shown schematically in Figure 5. Mean stress primarily affects component life in the highcycle 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.
Figure 5: Effect of mean stress on StrainLife curve
Morrow was the first to propose a modification to the baseline strainlife 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 stressstrain relationship:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}
is the mean stress.
In this equation, tensile mean stresses are positive ( _{} > 0), and compressive means are negative ( _{} < 0) .
In terms of the strainlife relationship, the Morrow Mean Stress Correction can be expressed by:
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 strainlife curve using the Morrow equation.
Figure 6: Effect of mean stress on strainlife curve (Morrow Correction)
A different method for modifying the strainlife curve to account for mean stress was proposed by Smith, Watson, and Topper. Their approach uses the Basquin relation relating the maximum
stress _{m}_{a}_{x} of a fullyreversed cycle to fatigue life:
Multiplying the strainlife equation by this term gives the SmithWatsonTopper (SWT) Mean Stress Correction:
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 stressstrain behavior at a notch root is required to account for the effects of notches in StrainLife fatigue predictions. Local stressstrain 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 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:
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:
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:
Combining this equation with the cyclic stressstrain equation gives:
Neuber's Rule has been extended to account for load reversals, so that:
Substituting this relation into the hysteresis equation gives:
_{w}_{h}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{:}
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 elasticplastic 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:
For limited yielding in the nominal region, the true stress and strain can be approximated by the nominal stress and strain:
and Neuber's equation can be written as:
For significant plasticity in the nominal region, where general yielding occurs in the component, Neuber's rule may give nonconservative predictions. Modifications to Neuber's have been proposed to account for this case. Seeger proposed one such modification:
where K _{p} is the ratio of the stress at the onset of general yielding to the stress at initial notch yielding:
and S* is given by:
and e* is calculated from the cyclic stressstrain equation:
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 StrainLife approach with the following information:
1. Material properties obtained from smooth specimen strain controlled laboratory fatigue data (cyclic stressstrain response and StrainLife data).
2. Stressstrain 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 StrainLife analysis and cause errors:
Cycles vs. Reversals  The strain life approach measures life in terms of reversals, 2Nf, whereas the StressLife method uses cycles (N). A reversal is onehalf of a full cycle.
Range vs. Amplitude  The strain life approach uses both strain range and strain
amplitude _{a} , which differ by a factor of 2.
That is,
_{a} = / 2.
Cyclic  Curve vs. Hysteresis Curve  Massing's hypothesis states that the hysteresis curve can be modeled as twice the cyclic stressstrain curve.
Input
The Singular Stress and Displacement Field module input form is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: The module input form.
The StrainLife problem is defined by first selecting the proper type of solution from the Solution Type pulldown menu. The required inputs fields for the StrainLife 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 StrainLife 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 stressstrain data, the following relationships can be used if no experimental data is available:
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 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, P109, 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 ShearStrained Prismatical Bodies with Arbitrary Nonlinear StressStrain 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. 200209.
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