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Engineering Failure Analysis 35 (2013) 665677

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Engineering Failure Analysis


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

Application of the weakest link analysis to the area of fatigue


design of steel welded joints
. Blacha a,, A. Karolczuk a, R. Banski b, P. Stasiuk a
a
b

Department of Mechanics and Machine Design, Opole University of Technology, ul. Mikoajczyka 5, 45-271 Opole, Poland
Department of Materials Science and Chipless Production Engineering, Opole University of Technology, ul. Mikoajczyka 5, 45-271 Opole, Poland

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Available online 28 June 2013
Keywords:
Welded joints
Fatigue failure
Weakest link concept
Efcient material

a b s t r a c t
A new approach in the area of fatigue life assessment of steel welded joints is being proposed with the following features: (i) methodology of fatigue life calculation is independent from geometry of welded element; (ii) fatigue life assessment is based on fatigue
characteristic of introduced efcient material suitable for different steel welded joints;
(iii) the fatigue life assessment is carried on the desired level of failure probability.
In the proposed method a material volume surrounding the weld is divided into volume
elements and regarded as a serial system having its denition in the reliability theory (the
weakest link concept). Failure probability distribution of the welded structure is characterized by the proposed SN curve for efcient material and the shape parameter introduced to
describe the volume effect.
2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Welding is a common method of joining structural elements. However, the use of unmachined welded joints without further heat treatment is associated with certain disadvantages: (i) stress concentration resulting from the complex geometry;
(ii) characteristic microstructural heterogeneity of the material in the weld and its vicinity; (iii) presence of residual stresses.
Results from the experimental research [13] lead to the following conclusions: (i) a characteristic area with unknown material properties arises in a joint as a consequence of the welding process; (ii) welding residual stresses are expected to rise as
the joint dimension increases; (iii) grade of the steel (parent material) is of secondary importance for the fatigue strength.
These features indicate the welded joint as the area where the damage process of the entire structure is initiated.
The approaches for the fatigue assessment of welded joints and components can be divided over the following groups:
(i) Nominal stress approach, preferred for joints classied in a distinctive manner (differing among codes and recommendations, e.g. [46]). The idea encapsulated in this approach requires the designer to place the given weld in one of a
number of classes. Fatigue life is estimated based on the nominal stress applied to the joint and separate SN curves.
The exact fatigue curve to be used is identied by the stress range Dr at 2  106 cycles (FAT class in IIW recommendations [4]).
(ii) Structural hot-spot stress approach, recommended for the cases where the strains can be measured directly at the
weld area or obtained from nite element analysis. Hot-spot stress is determined by the extrapolation from reference
points onto the weld toe. In this way, the structural stress is derived, i.e. including only the geometry as stress raising
effect. Fatigue resistance is evaluated from several SN curves categorized by the geometry of welded joint [4,7].
Corresponding author. Tel.: +48 77 449 8420; fax: +48 77 449 9934.
E-mail address: l.blacha@doktorant.po.edu.pl (. Blacha).
1350-6307/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engfailanal.2013.06.012

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(iii) Effective notch stress with ctitious notch rounding as an idealization of the real conditions. The corresponding stress
range is determined from nite element analysis, according to the chosen stress criterion. Idea of ctitious notch
rounding derives from the Neubers solution for stress averaging based on evaluation of stress in a small material volume [8,9]. Notch radius (uniform along the weld line) is a function of geometry and loading mode. Fatigue resistance
against effective notch stress is determined from one SN curve for several geometries, in IIW recommendations a FAT
curve is suggested [4].
(iv) Methods based on linear fracture mechanics, well suited for fatigue life assessment of joints with weld imperfections.
The fatigue parameter is stress intensity factor range tailored to individual notch type by the application of a number
of correction functions. No. of cycles to failure is evaluated from the crack propagation law dened by appropriate
material parameters.
(v) Others, e.g. method that takes into consideration material volume corresponding to the 90% of maximal stresses [10].
The paper describes probabilistic computational model for fatigue life evaluation of steel welded joints. To a certain extent,
the concept behind this model corresponds to the concept as proposed by Sonsino [10]. It is an extension into the wider range
of cycles, as consideration of volume effect and changes in fatigue life scatter are in the assumptions underlying to the model.
From this standpoint, it is suitable for fatigue life evaluation in a wide lifetime range. This is new since the previous research
known to the authors do not take the changing scatter into account [11,12]. From their denition they are applicable only to
one particular stress level they were developed to predict the fatigue limit (denition according to ASTM [13]).
It can be assumed, that changing scatter phenomena is material dependent. At tensile strength level scatter is non-existent in terms of fatigue. On the other hand, scatter keeps on growing while stress is decreasing into the endurance limit area
[14], i.e. cumulative failure distribution function is widening.
The introduced model is based on two-dimensional failure probability distribution Pf for an element with inhomogeneous
stress elds (i.e. welded), for any given no. of cycles and as a function of stress range and cycles to failure. It is the main contribution of the introduced research, achieved through the implementation of two-parameter Weibull distribution [15]. The
model utilizes the scale parameter (H) and shape parameter (p). Scale parameter allows to compare the scatter of fatigue life
on different stress levels. Shape parameter governs the initial shape of failure distribution and covers the volume effect in
welded joints. In this paper they are described in a consistent manner: from their formulation through identication process
and up to their nal values.
Weibull introduced his distribution as a result of analysis undertaken on scatter observed during static strength tests. Fatigue life distributions were investigated by a number of researchers, but only in the case of individual stress levels. Schijve
analyzed tting of log-normal as well as three-parameter Weibull and log-normal distributions [16,17]. Best results were
obtained from the latter two distributions, although the author suggested no physical justication to third parameter
the location parameter. Normal, log-normal, two- and three-parameter Weibull and extreme value distributions were tested
in [11,12] as the best t to fatigue life distribution. Again, the three-parameter Weibull distribution was chosen as best tting. Although, many remarks were raised concerning the values of parameters in the distribution, as they were physically
unjustied.
Several studies were undertaken on two-dimensional PSN fatigue failure distribution (probability-stress-cycles to failure) (e.g. [18,19]). Like in the literature positions, the model presented herein introduced constant shape parameter p. In this
manner it resembles the above mentioned. The difference is elsewhere here it is tailored to the specic area of steel welded
joints. Shape parameter is determined through comparison of experimental SN curves for welded elements of different
thicknesses. In this way, the volume effect a well-known issue of welded joints [2,20,21] is considered. Scale parameter
is formulated as a material-dependent parameter. It has a form of no. of cycles to failure Nf. This value for each loading level
is determined on the basis of introduced SN curve, corresponding to specic material microstructure in the weld area. The
identication procedure involved numerical optimization with reference to fatigue tests and FAT curves [4].
Calculation algorithm to the model is based on the weakest link concept [22,23]. In this manner calculated fatigue life of a
welded joint is dependent from global failure probability which is a resultant of local failure probabilities derived for each
nite element. The computational method is based on non-local approach to fatigue failure analysis. Effect of geometry is
minimized as throughout the analysis entire stress eld in the material volume is taken into account. The weld notch is modeled with a uniform value of root radius. From the standpoint of nite element modeling it is similar to the effective notch
stress approach.
2. Lifetime of welded joints in a weakest link concept formulation
Based on the conclusions drawn from the results of fatigue tests [1,2,20], assumptions to the computational model were
formulated:
Elements joined by consumable electrode arc welding in shielding gas atmosphere demonstrate characteristic features of
the material surrounding the weld, i.e.: structural inhomogeneity, overheated material sections, welding residual stresses. These properties dominate over the properties of parent material; it leads to the conclusion regarding the versatility
in application of efcient material SN curve into the area of steel welded joints.

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It is assumed, that the material extracted from the vicinity of welding point is dened by certain fatigue properties; such a
material is called the efcient material.
Number of cycles to failure is derived based on predened cumulative distribution function, according to the weakest link
concept.
Form of the survival probability distribution Ps is inuenced by the following factors: inhomogeneous stress eld along
the weld, size of the welded element and fatigue properties of efcient material.
Stress eld is obtained through linear elastic nite element analysis.
An analysis carried on the test results reveals the relationship between increasing length of the weld, as well as dimensions of welded element, and decrease in fatigue durability. Such an effect is called the volume effect. The inuence of size can
be described by weakest link damage concept [15,22,23]. This kind of approach seems to be especially promising in case of
welded joints. Application of the weakest link concept in the volume of the material [24] denes the cumulative failure distribution function Pf on a certain loading level as a function of number of cycles to failure N:
V1

Pf N 1  Ps N 1  e

R
V

log N p
dV
H

where Ps(N) survival probability as a function of number of cycles to failure N, V0 referential volume, H scale parameter,
p shape parameter.
Survival probability distribution Ps(N) for an element characterized by referential volume V0 and homogeneous stress
eld is in the following form:

Ps N e

log N p

The scale parameter H normalizes log N variable for a given loading level. This parameter can be conveniently described in
the form of H = log Nf , where Nf is the number of cycles to failure of the efcient material, for a certain value of Ps:


Ps N e

log N
log Nf

p
3

An example of Ps(N) distributions for different values of shape parameter is shown in Fig. 1.
The SN curve for the efcient material takes into account microstructural heterogeneities and the effect of residual stresses. Parameters of such a curve are determined on the basis of experimental data. In order to simplify the notation, it is assumed, that within a certain range of number of cycles to failure this curve can be described by the following relation:

log Nf log C f  mf log Dr;

where Nf number of cycles to failure for efcient material, on the given level of Ps, Cf, mf fatigue parameters for efcient
material, for the given level of Ps, Dr stress range.
From the comparison between relations (4) and (3), the following formula for Ps, DrN distribution can be derived:


Ps N; Dr e

log N
log C f mf log Dr

p
:

This formula is valid under the assumption that shape parameter p is independent from stress range Dr. Shape parameter
is considered as a constant value within the certain range of number of cycles to failure. The estimated value of p is decreasing for stress levels below the endurance limit, which comes in connection with widening of the scatter band. The above
relationship becomes clear in view of Fig. 1.

Fig. 1. Simulation of survival probability distributions Ps for two values of shape parameter p and Nf = 105 cycles.

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The nal formula for the proposed failure probability distribution Pf as a function of number of cycles to failure N of an
element with inhomogeneous stress eld Dr(x, y, z) can be shown as the following equation:
V1

Pf N 1  Ps N 1  e

R 
V

p

log N
log C f mf log Drx;y;z

dV

The derived formula is dened through four parameters: V0, p, Cf, mf. The process of identication of these parameters is
presented in the next section.
3. Identication of the parameters proposed in the computational model
3.1. Shape parameter p
The survival probability of an element with ascribed efcient material properties and volume equal to nV (n times larger
than in the Eq. (5) case) can be described as:
n

Ps n  V e

p

log N
log C f mf log Dr

The simulation of survival probability distributions for different values of n is shown in Fig. 2. For the same value of Ps, Dr,
Cf, mf the derived fatigue life N differs. This phenomena can be described by the volume effect [25,26]. It should be mentioned, that in case of cyclic loading good estimates of this effect can be produced by a continuous, monotonic function [20].
The following notation is proposed:

logNV s  logNn  V;

where N(V), N(nV) number of cycles to failure for the volume of V and nV, respectively, s parameter proposed to describe
the volume effect (coefcient of proportionality, in the logarithmic scale).
From the comparison of Ps probabilities derived for volume V and nV


log NV
log C f mf log Dr

p

n

log NnV
log C f mf log Dr

p
;

and with the consideration of relation (8), the following formula can be derived:


slog NnV
log C f mf log Dr

p

n

log NnV
log C f mf log Dr

p
:

10

After the transformations of

s  log NV
log C f  mf log Dr

p


p
log NV
n
;
log C f  mf log Dr

11

it can be concluded that

sp n

12

The resulting formula for the shape parameter can be described by the following equation:

Fig. 2. Simulation of survival probability distributions Ps for two values of n with p = 20 and Nf = 105 cycles.

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Fig. 3. Simulation of the volume effect for two values of shape parameter p.

log n
:
log s

13

Eq. (13) serves as an input to the identication process. Identication of the shape parameter proceeds through the comparison made between fatigue lives obtained for welded joints of different dimensions and described by parameters n and s.
Relation (12) for selected values of shape parameter is shown in Fig. 3. Performed simulation (e.g. for p = 20) pointed to the
conclusion that increase in volume leads to decrease in fatigue life described by the ratio of logarithms of number of cycles to
failure equal to ca. 1.26 (according to Eq. (8)).
The shape parameter p was identied through undertaken experimental research.

3.1.1. Experimental research


The investigated specimens were made of S355J2 steel delivered in the normalized conditions. Chemical composition of
such steel is shown in Table 1. Specimens were manufactured by machining of a large welded plate of a transverse stiffener
geometry. The orientation of the weld direction was perpendicular to the direction of rolling. Plate with the thickness of
5 mm was cut by plasma along the rolling direction to the dimensions of 1300 mm in length and 60 mm in width. The geometry of the specimens is shown in Fig. 4. Final dimensions were obtained by milling.
Plate was welded in one pass using GMAW MAG technique with a mixture of Ar (92%) and CO2 (8%) as shielding gas, by
the same person and in one sequence. Welded joint was fully penetrated. Tests were performed on joints in as-welded condition. Shape and parent material of the specimens were the same as in the tests by Sonsino et al. [1].

Table 1
Chemical composition of S355J2 steel (EN 10025-2: 2004).
Chemical element
Max amount (%)

C
0.22

Si
0.55

Mn
1.60

P
0.03

Fig. 4. Geometry and dimensions of the specimens investigated in identication process.

S
0.03

Cu
0.55

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PM

HAZ

Material: S355J2+N
Thickness: 5 mm

HAZ

PM

Weld

Fig. 5. Material macrostructure in vicinity of the joint, where: PM parent material, HAZ heat affected zone.

Fig. 6. Microhardness distribution across the welded joint. Vickers test, indenter load of 100 g.

3.1.1.1. Structural tests. For a chosen specimen macroscopic metallographic tests were undertaken, accompanied by hardness
measurements. From the test a macrograph was obtained, together with microhardness distribution across the heat affected
zone (HAZ), joint and parent material (PM).
In the heat affected zone three typical areas were observed: recrystallization zone (500 C Ac1), normalized zone (Ac1
Ac3) and the fusion zone (above 1100 C). The boundary between HAZ and material sections that were intact in structure and
properties becomes clear in view of material macrostructure, as shown in Fig. 5. The weld was fully penetrated, without
macro aws. Microhardness measurements were performed on Leco AHT 2100 hardness tester under the 100 g loading,
according to PN-EN ISO 6507-1. Test results are presented in Fig. 6. The highest increase in the hardness was observed in
overheated area, with value of approx. 200 HV0.1 being considerably higher than 160 HV0.1 in the parent material. Hardness
in the weld area was uctuating between 181 HV0.1 and 196 HV0.1; this behavior is specic for poured materials without heat
treatment. Recrystallization zone exhibited stable hardness values.
3.1.1.2. Notch radius. Welded joints are regions of complex geometry with variable notch radius q and weld toe angle a,
resulting in stress concentration. A scatter in q radius is considered to be due to the welding technique. In the present paper
q and a (angle between the two lines: (1) tangent to the weld face; (2) tangent to plate) were determined through image
processing. The evaluation of q and a involved:
(1) Making silicone cast for the weld face and its vicinity.
(2) Cutting the cast into sections normal to the weld line (approx. 1 mm cutting scale).
(3) Grayscale scanning of the obtained fragments (0255 scale) with resolution of 4800 dpi resulting in the precision
range of 0.0053 mm/pixel.

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Fig. 7. Example of weld contours identied along the weld line: (a) q = 3.26 mm, and (b) q = 4,31 mm.

(4) Image ltration aimed at differentiation of weld edges (Fig. 7).


(5) Identication of lines tangent to plate and weld face linear regression analysis on 400 extreme image points (Fig. 7).
(6) Identication of circle tangent to obtained lines, through least squares approach and on the basis of Er estimator:

Er

n
X
2
yri  yei ;

14

i1

where yri y coordinate of point i (measured), yei y coordinate of point i (estimated), n no. of points.
(7) Computation of radius q and angle a.
(8) Evaluation of the quality estimator P for mean tting, in accordance with the following relation:

r
Er
P
:
n

15

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Table 2
Results from the analysis on weld contours, where: qmin lowest value of q radius.

q (mm)

qmin (mm)

a ()

 (mm)
P

No. of measurements

3.2 0.82

1.6

133.5 2.3

0.026 0.015

24

Fig. 8. Histograms: (a) notch radius q, (b) ank angle a.

(9) Calculation of R, a, P mean values and scatter, dened as being equal to standard deviation.
The derived results are shown in Table 2. An example of digital images together with the determined weld contours are
shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 8 shows the measurement results.
In order to assess the measurement error three cuboidal tiles were cut from the cast. The dimensions of the tiles were
measured by a calliper with an accuracy of 0.02 mm. In the next step similar analysis was undertaken as the one in case
of the cast. Measurement method was evaluated from the comparison between derived results absolute error for image processing. It was dened as a square root of mean square value of the deviation and was established at the value of 0.10 mm.
3.1.1.3. Fatigue tests description. The tests were conducted on specimens of a transverse stiffener geometry (Fig. 4). Each
specimen was subjected to cyclic axial loading and tested under load control (see Table 3). The loading was of a fully reversed
type (R = 1) with stress levels ranging from 80 MPa to 150 MPa of nominal stress amplitude ran.

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Table 3
Fatigue test results.
Specimen no.

ran (MPa)

Nf, cycles

1
2
3
4
5
6

80
80
100
100
150
150

2,395,820
1,557,420
1,150,270
644,170
275,410
250,450

Fig. 9. Fracture surface.

3.1.1.4. Fatigue tests results. In the tests, fatigue cracks were initiated on the outer edge of the weld, in the heat affected
zone. Cracks propagated along the weld line resulting in fracture surface as shown in Fig. 9. Location of the crack is justied
by the high values of stress concentration factor (e.g. determined by Sonsino et al. [1]). The derived number of cycles to failure Nf for a given value of nominal stress amplitude ran are shown in Table 3. The correlation between ran and Nf (SN curve)
is shown in Fig. 10 and described by the following relation:

ran C  Nbf ;

16

where C, b fatigue parameters of the welded joint.


Fatigue strength computed using Eq. (16) for ran corresponding to 2  106 cycles was determined to be equal to 78 MPa.
The C and b parameters are obtained through least squares regression analysis which yielded the values of C = 7878 MPa and
b = 0.32.
These results were compared to the results available in the literature. Sonsino et al. [1] undertook research on the specimens with the same geometry but different dimensions (Fig. 11) and volume of the joint being eight times larger. Regression
analysis yielded the following values of the fatigue parameters (Eq. (16)): C = 8127 MPa and b = 0.35. The estimate of the
fatigue strength (ran at 2  106 cycles) is equal to 48 MPa (Fig. 10).
In both cases slope of the SN curve (1/b, Eq. (16)) is considered to be comparable which allows to determine the shape
parameter p. Initial conditions for the identication process are summarized below:

n 8;

CV 7878;

Cn  V 8127;

where V volume of the welded joint.


Difference in fatigue life N (i.e. the volume effect) is described by the coefcient of proportionality s (Eq. (8)). From the
relation s = C (nV) / C (V) and Eq. (13) the following values arise:

s 1:0316;

p 66:82:

3.2. Scale parameter H


As already mentioned, the scale parameter H in distribution (1) is in the form of number of cycles to failure determined
from the efcient materialSN curve. Such curve is described by two parameters: Cf and mf.
The identication process requires the knowledge of the number of cycles to failure for a given geometry and survival
probability Ps. The identication criteria involved in this approach can be ideally met through the application of nominal
stress approach and FAT SN curves [4]. The FAT number is equal to stress range (Dr = FAT) at 2  106 cycles, derived for

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Fig. 10. SN curves derived from the tests by the author and Sonsino et al. [1].

Fig. 11. Geometry and dimensions of specimens investigated by Sonsino et al. [1]

95% survival probability Ps. The process involves numerical calculation of through thickness stress elds acting along the
weld line and corresponding to specied level of nominal loading, applied to joint of a chosen geometry and FAT class.
In the concept, global geometry of the welded joint has no inuence on the efcient material SN curve. Shape of the
welded joint is considered during nite element modeling. In order to avoid stress eld singularity, a notch radius q must
be introduced during the modeling. In a welded element, varying q radius together with inhomogeneous residual stress eld
affect fatigue life probability distribution. Both features have an impact on the scale of volume effect. In the underlying
assumptions, Cf and mf parameters take into account the inuence of material inhomogeneity on the fatigue life. It should
be mentioned that in the proposed model notch radius is unrelated to loading type or failure criterion as it is so in the effective notch stress approach. It is a representative to the real conditions. The value will be different for each SN curve, but it
should be beared in mind that we are dealing with efcient material, with everything that it implies.
The process of identication of the Cf and mf parameters proceeds through NelderMead minimization [27,28] of the
E(Cf, mf) estimator for efcient material parameters:
log NFAT p

EC f ; mf 0; 95  e

R 
V

p

1
log C f mf log Dr

dV

17

EC f ; mf ! 0;
where NFAT number of cycles to failure derived from the nominal stress approach.
Referential volume V0 (Eq. (6)) for efcient material is assumed to be equal to 1 mm3. In the assumptions underlying in
the model, the grade of the steel elements being joined (in fatigue analysis grade of most steels is of secondary importance
[1]), do not affect the efcient material characteristic. Similar situation arises in case of their geometry. Only a slight impact is
forecasted since during the calculations not only the notch but also the surrounding volume has the inuence on the distribution (non-local fatigue assessment method).
The identication process should be regarded also as a form of validation. It was carried for two welded elements of a
different geometry: transverse butt weld (type a joint) and a transverse stiffener (type b joint). The geometry of the analyzed
elements is shown in Fig. 12. In the IIW nominal stress approach [4] these elements are classied as structural details of no.
213 and 511, respectively.

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Fig. 12. Geometry of the investigated elements: (a) transverse butt weld [4], and (b) transverse stiffener [4].

Fig. 13. Finite element models representative for the transverse butt weld (a) and transverse stiffener (b) welded elements.

Finite element analysis was carried out for nite element models of a geometry representative for both welded elements
and with notch radius in ten variants, q = {0.11.0} [mm], uniform along the weld line. Global edge length of the elements in
the notch section (section I, Fig 13) was equal to 0.1q, following the IIW recommendations [4]. Plate thickness was equal to
5 mm. The elements were subjected to axial loading.
Fig. 14 briey describes the process of identication in the form of a serial, iterative algorithm. Detailed description over
the identication process can be found in the literature [29].
The log(Cf), mf parameters extracted for each variation of FE model and joint type are presented in Table 4.

4. Discussion
In the presented model appropriate formulation of the shape and scale parameters is of a major importance. Shape
parameter p is responsible for tting volume effect into the model. It is an exponent inside the Weibull failure distribution.
As it was pointed out, especially in case of cyclic loadings volume effect can be described by a continuous and monotonic
function. The type of specimens was selected in order to establish the fatigue parameters for volume effect threshold.

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Generation of FE model representative for the chosen welded joint classified in


nominal stress approach
Determination of through-thickness stress field along the weld line and
corresponding to the chosen nominal stress ranges
Transformation of stresses according to the chosen multiaxial failure criterion
Generation of the pair of values for Cf and mf parameters
Determination of E(Cf,mf) identification estimator
Comparison of estimator values derived for two levels of nominal loading
Identification of Cf and mf parameters according to the results from minimization
of E(Cf,mf) identification estimator
Fig. 14. Identication algorithm for the parameters of efcient material SN curve [13].

Table 4
Efcient material log(Cf), mf parameters for different values of notch radius q and joint geometry [13].

q (mm)

1,0
0,9
0,8
0,7
0,6
0,5
0,4
0,3
0,2
0,1

Type a joint (butt weld, IIW no. 213)

Type b joint (transverse stiffener, IIW no. 511)

E, 107

log(Cf)

mf

E, 107

log(Cf)

mf

6
6
7
2
5
6
7
4
9
3

13.77
13.70
13.68
13.66
13.66
13.65
13.65
13.65
13.65
13.65

2.98
3.04
3.07
3.10
3.12
3.14
3.16
3.17
3.19
3.20

7
6
1
5
2
6
7
4
6
7

13.68
13.71
13.69
13.69
13.68
13.67
13.66
13.66
13.65
13.65

3.11
3.11
3.12
3.13
3.13
3.14
3.14
3.15
3.15
3.16

Comparison with the results from another research center demonstrated nearly parallel SN curves which can imply that the
results are representative.
Scale parameter H describes fatigue properties of a certain material volume the efcient material volume. To extract the
fatigue parameters of this volume, nominal stress approach was chosen as it can be regarded reliable in case of simple geometries and loading. Results of the identication (Table 4) are to a certain extent affected by mesh renement. Table 4 should
also be treated as a validation to the underlying assumptions. The number of investigated geometry variations and changes
in signicant digits are an estimate of sensitivity to weld geometry. Despite the considerable change of notch radius q, the
obtained values resembled each other.

5. Summary
1. A non-local probabilistic computational model for fatigue life assessment of welded joints has been proposed in this
paper. It allows the evaluation of fatigue life distribution for a variety of steel welded joints. Transferability of the model
is based upon the introduction of proposed form for scale and shape parameters in the Weibull distribution. It is established through the application of nite element modeling, introduction of SN curve for efcient material and simulation
of volume effect. Such an approach governs the issues of geometry and fatigue behavior of welded joints, respectively.
2. A key issue focuses around the identication of the two parameters for efcient materialSN curve. The process in the proposed form involved nite element analysis undertaken for different nite element models varying in geometry and
notch radius. The obtained results served as an input into NelderMead downhill simplex minimization of the introduced
identication estimator. For the lower radii obtained parameters were identical and for q = 0.1 mm equal to:
log Cf = 13.65 and mf = 3.18.
3. The shape parameter provided the necessary insight into the SN curve behavior. Based on the performed fatigue tests
and further comparison between data series for welded joints of a different volume, the exact value was established
to be equal to p = 66.82.
4. Further validation and more rened application procedure are to be reported separately.

. Blacha et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 35 (2013) 665677

677

Acknowledgement
This paper was realized as a part of the research Project no. DEC-2011/01/N/ST8/02566 funded by the National Science
Centre in Poland.
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