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Fatigue life assessment of welded structures based on fracture mechanics

A. Krasovskyy (Wärtsilä Switzerland Ltd, Winterthur, Switzerland)
A. Virta (Wartsila Switzerland Ltd, Winterthur, Switzerland)

International Journal of Structural Integrity

ISSN: 1757-9864

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




Even though modern welding technology has improved, initial defects on weld notches cannot be avoided. Assuming the existence of crack-like flaws after the welding process, the stage of a fatigue crack nucleation becomes insignificant and the threshold for the initial crack propagation can be used as a criterion for very high cycle fatigue whereas crack growth analysis can be applied for the lifetime estimation at lower number of cycles. The purpose of this paper is to present a mechanism based approach for lifetime estimation of welded joints, subjected to a multiaxial non-proportional loading.


The proposed method, which is based on the welding process simulation, thermophysical material modeling and fracture mechanics, considers the most important aspects for fatigue of welds. Applying worst-case assumptions, fatigue limits derived by the weight function method can be then used for the fatigue assessment of complex welded structures.


An accurate mechanism based method for the fatigue life assessment of welded joints has been presented and validated.


Compared to the fatigue limits provided by design codes, the proposed method offers more accurate lifetime estimation, a better understanding of interactions between welding process and fatigue behavior. It gives more possibilities to optimize the welding process specifically for the considered material, weld type and loading in order to achieve the full cost and weight optimization potential for industrial applications.



Krasovskyy, A. and Virta, A. (2015), "Fatigue life assessment of welded structures based on fracture mechanics", International Journal of Structural Integrity, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 2-25.



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