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www.elsevier.com/locate/ijfatigue

Lifetime predictions for real loading situationsconcepts and

experimental results of fatigue crack growth

M. Sander, H.A. Richard

Institute of Applied Mechanics (FAM), University of Paderborn, Pohlweg 47-49, D-33098 Paderborn, Germany

Abstract

In this paper experimental results for real fatigue loading situations and loading changes are presented. It can be shown that the

retardation effect depends on many factors, e.g. the overload ratio or the loading direction. Also, the lifetime is affected by the

reconstruction of counting methods. In addition the results of simulations with the program code NASGRO are presented and

veried by appropriate experiments.

2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Fatigue crack growth; Interaction effects; Mixed mode; Simulation; NASGRO

1. Introduction

The quality of a product is of increasing importance

for industrial applications, because costs arising from

missing quality are enormous. Especially the missing

quality, which is caused in the early phase of the devel-

opment of a product is involved with high consequential

costs. Not only economic but rst of all the safety-engin-

eering factors in this phase are important for a break-

proof development of components and structures. For

this purpose, it is very important to obtain a meaningful

statement about the lifetime. But a component or a struc-

ture is exposed to varying loading situations during their

application. These varying loading changes produce

retardation and acceleration of the fatigue crack growth,

the so called interaction effects, which enormously com-

plicate reliable lifetime predictions. In the rst part of

this paper, experimental results of loading changes are

presented. Afterwards, the results of simulations with the

program code NASGRO are presented and veried by

appropriate experiments.

603719.

E-mail address: richard@fam.upb.de (H.A. Richard).

0142-1123/$ - see front matter 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/S0142-1123(03)00112-9

2. Experimental investigations and results

2.1. Systematisation of fatigue crack growth

experiments

Generally fatigue crack growth can be divided into

two main groups: single stage loading (constant ampli-

tude loading) and service loading (variable amplitude

loading) [1]. With experiments under single-stage load-

ings, statements can be made about the crack initiation,

the crack path and starting of unstable crack growth, but

it is difcult to get any information about the lifetime of

structures and components under real loading conditions.

Therefore, experiments must be performed with single

over- and underloads, over- and underload sequences,

block loadings and combination loadings. Furthermore,

all of these groups have to be investigated under mode

I as well as under mixed mode loading conditions.

2.2. Material, specimen and experimental techniques

The experimental investigations are performed with

two different types of specimen. For pure mode I fatigue

loadings the CT specimen, w = 72 mm, which is stan-

dardised by the ASTM standard E647, is used. Both

mode I and mixed mode experiments are carried out with

the compact tension shear (CTS) specimen, which was

developed by Richard [3]. All specimen are taken from

1000 M. Sander, H.A. Richard / International Journal of Fatigue 25 (2003) 9991005

a 10 mm thick plate of the aluminium alloy 7075 with

a heat treatment of T651 in T-L direction.

The central unit of the experimental setup is a ser-

vohydraulic testing system. For the measurement of the

crack length the potential drop method (DC) is used. The

program system

FAM

Control [1], which has been

developed at the Institute of Applied Mechanics at the

University of Paderborn, is used for both the measuring

data logging and controlling of the experiments.

2.3. Overload experiments

The mode I overload problem has already been stud-

ied by many researchers. In the literature, it is shown

that an interspersing of an overload into a constant base-

line level loading leads to a retardation of the fatigue

crack growth, which is inuenced by many factors. An

overview is given in [2]. The amount of retardation is

usually quantied by the delay cycles N

DI

. Those delay

cycles N

DI

are the number of cycles, which are necessary

in addition to the cycles N

CA

of a baseline level loading,

until the fatigue crack growth rate of the baseline level

is reached again [1].

For example in [1] it is pointed out that due to an

increasing overload ratio R

ol

R

ol

K

ol

K

Bl,max

(1)

the retardation effect increases. Hereby K

Bl,max

is the

maximum stress intensity factor of the baseline level

loading and K

ol

is the maximum stress intensity factor

of the overload. Another inuencing factor for the

amount of retardation is the baseline level loading. With

a decreasing baseline level loading, the retardation effect

increases (Fig. 1).

Many structures and components are exposed during

their lifetime to mixed mode overloads. However, the

mixed mode overload problem is studied only by a few

authors so far. For the experimental investigations the

CTS specimen and the appropriate loading device of

Richard is used [3]. Depending on the loading direction

pure mode I (a = 0), pure mode II (a = 90) or mixed

mode (a = 1575) can be obtained. The stress intensity

factors K

I

and K

II

for the CTS specimen can be calcu-

lated by the following equations developed by Richard

[3]:

K

I

(2)

F

wt

pa

cosa

1a/ w

1 0.55(a/ (wa))0.08[(a/ (wa))]

2

K

II

(3)

F

wt

pa

sina

1a/ w

1 0.67(a/ (wa)) 2.08[(a/ (wa))]

2

Fig. 1. Delay cycles N

DI

depending of the baseline level loading and

the overload ratio R

ol

.

The overload ratio for a mixed mode overload is

dened as follows:

R

ol

K

V,ol

K

Bl,max

(4)

whereby the comparative stress intensity factor K

V,ol

can

be determined by

K

V,ol

0.5K

I

0.5K

2

I,ol

4(a

1

K

II,ol

)

2

(5)

This comparative stress intensity factor is necessary

in order to have similar conditions for different mixed

mode ratios. Fig. 2 shows the characteristic a versus N

curves for mode I, mixed mode and mode II overloads

with an overload ratio R

ol

= 2.5. It becomes obvious that

a mode I overload produces the biggest retardation

effect. A pure mode II overload has nearly no inuence

on the fatigue crack growth. The inuence of the K

II

portion on the number of delay cycles N

DI

is also shown

in Fig. 3. With an increasing amount of mode II the

retardation effect after a 2.5-fold mixed mode overload

decreases up to a K

II

/ (K

I

+ K

II

) ratio of approximately

0.6. After this point, the delay cycles N

DI

remain more

or less constant. The retardation effect is not so notice-

able for an overload ratio of 2.0, but the tendency is the

same as for an overload ratio of 2.5.

2.4. Experiments with service loadings

For the experimental investigations of a service load-

ing the half of the FELIX-28 spectrum is applied (Fig.

4) [4]. This spectrum is counted by the level crossing

counting method and then reconstructed on two ways.

1001 M. Sander, H.A. Richard / International Journal of Fatigue 25 (2003) 9991005

Fig. 2. Inuence of mixed mode overloads with R

ol

= 2.5 on the

fatigue crack growth depending on the loading direction a = 0 (mode

I),,90 (mode II).

Fig. 3. Comparison of the delay cycles N

DI

after a single mixed mode

overload with R

ol

= 2.0 and 2.5 depending on the amount of K

II

.

For the rst reconstruction at the beginning the highest

amplitudes and at the end the smallest amplitudes of the

counting are chosen (Fig. 5). The second reconstruction

is done vice versa (Fig. 6). For the experimental investi-

gations 10 000 cycles of a constant baseline level loading

Fig. 4. Part of the helicopter spectrum FELIX-28.

Fig. 5. First reconstructed spectrum after a level crossing counting

of FELIX-28.

with F

max

= 5 kN and R

Bl

= 0.1 is applied to the CT

specimen before the spectrums are applied. The results

of the experimental investigations of the original spec-

trum and the reconstructed ones are shown in Fig. 7. It

becomes obvious that after the constant amplitude load-

ing the a versus N curves are very different. The crack

length of both reconstructed spectra are nearly the same,

but they differ from that of the original FELIX-28 spec-

trum.

3. Lifetime prediction with NASGRO

For the prediction of the lifetime of precracked struc-

tures and components several programs exist, e.g.

ADAPCRACK3D [5], AFGROW [6], ViDa [7] or NAS-

GRO [8]. ViDa, AFGROW and NASGRO are programs,

which mainly predict the lifetime by means of predened

1002 M. Sander, H.A. Richard / International Journal of Fatigue 25 (2003) 9991005

Fig. 6. Second reconstructed spectrum after a level crossing counting

of FELIX-28.

Fig. 7. Comparison of the fatigue crack growth of the original spec-

trum FELIX-28 and the reconstructed spectra after a level crossing

counting.

crack cases. ADAPCRACK3D is a program for numeri-

cal simulations of fatigue crack growth in 3D-structures

also taking interaction effects into account. Because

NASGRO is the most widespread program system, the

present study was carried out with it in order to verify

the implemented concepts and crack cases with experi-

mental data.

3.1. Forman/Mettu equation

For the simulation with NASGRO different kinds of

crack growth equations are available. The most

important one is the Forman/Mettu equation, which was

developed by Forman, Newman, de Koning and Hen-

riksen and was rst published by Forman and Mettu [9].

It is given by:

da/ dN C[((1f) / (1R))K]

n

(1K

th

/ K)

p

/ (1K

max

/ K

C

)

q

(6)

In Fig. 8, the experimentally measured crack growth

curves of the used material depending on the R-ratio and

the predicted Forman/Mettu crack growth curve, whose

parameters are given in the material database of NAS-

GRO (Table 1), are compared.

One can see that the crack growth equation notably

differs from the experimental data, because aluminium

alloys typically have a double S-shape. This shape is

better reproduced by the 1D-table of that material, in

which the da/dN-values depending on the K

eff

are

given.

3.2. Simulation of overloads and block loadings

In NASGRO several models taking the interaction

effects into account are available. Following concepts

are implemented: the generalized Willenborg model, the

modied generalized Willenborg model, the Walker

Chang Willenborg model, the Strip Yield model

Fig. 8. Comparison of the experimental fatigue crack growth curves,

the Forman/Mettu equation and a 1D-table depending on the load

ratio R.

1003 M. Sander, H.A. Richard / International Journal of Fatigue 25 (2003) 9991005

Fig. 9. Comparison of experimental and theoretical results of over-

load sequences.

(constant and variable constraint-loss option) and the

constant closure model (Boeing/Northrop). The full

description of the mentioned concepts are given e.g. in

[8]. In this section a comparison of some concepts is

given. Therefore the CT-specimen made of the alu-

minium alloy 7075 T6 is chosen with an initial crack

length of 17 mm. The simulation without taking the

interaction effects into account as well as the simulation

with the modied generalized Willenborg model is per-

formed by the Forman/Mettu equation with the appropri-

ate material parameters (Table 1), while the simulation

with the Strip Yield model is carried out with the

implemented 1D-table. For a rst comparison, the speci-

men is subjected to a cyclic constant amplitude loading

with F

max

= 4.5 kN and R = 0.1, in which after every

50 000 cycles a single overload with an overload ratio

of 2.2 is interspersed. Fig. 9 shows the simulation results

calculated with different concepts of NASGRO for this

simple overload sequence. The verication of the simul-

ation results by experiments shows that the investigated

concepts are conservative. The ratio of the predicted

number of cycles and the averaged experimental number

of cycles lies between 0.75 for the Strip Yield model

and 0.86 for the modied generalized Willenborg model

Table 1

Material parameters given in the material database of NASGRO for the material 7075-T6

UTS (MPa) YS (MPa) K

IC

(N/mm

3/2

) K

0

(N/mm

3/2

) C n p q a

579.16 517.11 938.21 69.50 1.53 10

11

2.95 0.5 1.0 1.9

with j

0

= 0.5. The Strip Yield model with constant con-

straint-loss option describes the retardation effect quite

properly, but the following acceleration phase is not

reproduced correctly. Overall, the simulation with the

modied generalized Willenborg model delivers the best

results, but also the simulation results with the Strip

Yield model are in good agreement with the experi-

mental results.

A second experimental investigation is done by intro-

ducing 10 000 cycles with a block loading ratio of 1.5

into the constant baseline level loading instead of a sin-

gle overload. The results for the block loading is shown

in Fig. 10. The Strip Yield model with constant con-

straint-loss option depicts the rst part of the experi-

ments very well, but the crack length during the block

loading is overestimated. The retardation phase is nearly

the same as it is in the experiment, but the following

acceleration is not in good agreement. The modied gen-

eralized Willenborg model and the computation without

the consideration of any interaction effects produce over-

all good results. Only the retardation is not represented

very well. So if the retardation effect of the experiments

becomes larger because of bigger block loading ratios,

these concepts will produce very conservative results.

Fig. 10. Comparison of experimental and theoretical results of block

loadings.

1004 M. Sander, H.A. Richard / International Journal of Fatigue 25 (2003) 9991005

3.3. Simulation of service loadings

For further simulations with the CT specimen, the

above mentioned half of the helicopter spectrum FELIX-

28 (Fig. 4) and the appropriate reconstructions of the

level crossing counting (Figs. 5 and 6) are used. The

simulation results of the original spectrum compared

with the experimental results are shown in Fig. 11. It

becomes obvious that the Strip Yield model with con-

stant constraint-loss option predicts the constant ampli-

tude loading very well, but the crack length of the fol-

lowing spectrum loading is underestimated, whereas the

simulation without the consideration of interaction

effects overestimates the crack length. The modied gen-

eralized Willenborg model predicts the crack length very

well despite the crack growth curve is slightly different

from the experimental one.

The simulation and experimental results with the rst

reconstructed spectrum are shown in Fig. 12. Here both

the modied generalized Willenborg model and the com-

putation without taking the interaction effects into

account underestimate the crack length, but the Strip

Yield model extremely overestimates the crack length.

Fig. 13 shows the comparison of the simulation results

with the second reconstructed spectrum and the appro-

priate experimental data. It becomes obvious that this

spectrum is very well predicted by the modied gen-

eralized Willenborg model as well as by the simulation

without the consideration of the interaction effects. But

again the Strip Yield provides a very conservative result,

because the crack length is highly overestimated.

Fig. 11. Comparison of experimental and theoretical results of a half

of the helicopter spectrum FELIX-28.

Fig. 12. Simulation results of the rst reconstructed spectrum

depending on the used concept compared with experimental data.

Fig. 13. Simulation results of the second reconstructed spectrum

depending on the used concept compared with experimental data.

4. Conclusions

By means of experimental investigations the inu-

ences of different loading changes are shown. It can be

pointed out that the most inuencing factors for the retar-

dation of the fatigue crack growth after an overload are:

the overload ratio, the baseline level loading and the

loading direction. The experimental data have been com-

pared with the NASGRO simulation results. All predic-

tion models of NASGRO are based on different expla-

nations of the interaction effects, so that they deliver

varying results, but in average the modied generalized

1005 M. Sander, H.A. Richard / International Journal of Fatigue 25 (2003) 9991005

Willenborg model describes the investigated problems

best.

References

[1] Sander M, Richard HA. Inuence of loading changes on the

fatigue crack growth. In: Ravi-Chandar K, editor. Proceedings of

the 10th International Conference on Fracture (ICF10), Fatigue and

Fracture, Honolulu, USA. Advances in fracture research. 2001.

[2] Skorupa M. Empirical trends and prediction models for fatigue

crack growth under variable amplitude loading. ECN-R96-007.

Petten, Netherlands: Netherlands Energy Research Foundation;

1996.

[3] Richard HA. Bruchvorhersagen bei uberlagerter Normal- und

Schub-beanspruchung von Rissen. VDI-Forschungsheft 631/85,

Dusseldorf: VDI-Verlag; 1985.

[4] GENESIS 4 fatigue. NLR, 2001.

[5] Richard HA, Fulland M, Schollmann M, Sander M. Simulation of

fatigue crack growth using ADAPCRACK3D. In: Blom AF, edi-

tor. Fatigue 2002, Proceedings of the Eighth International Fatigue

Congress, 2002, Stockholm, Sweden. p. 1405-1412

[6] Harter JA. AFGROW users guide and technical manual. Air

Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air

Force Base, Ohio, 2002.

[7] ViDA 2002Visual damagemeter for windows. User manual.

Rio de Janeiro: ViDa Inc.; 2002.

[8] NASA. Fatigue crack growth computer program NASGRO ver-

sion 3.0reference manual, JSC-22267B. Texas, USA: NASA,

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 2000.

[9] Forman RG, Mettu SR. Behavior of surface and corner cracks sub-

jected to tensile and bending loads in a Ti6Al4V alloy. In: Ernst

HA, Saxena A, McDowell DL, editors. Fracture Mechanics:

Twenty-Second Symposium. ASTM STP 1131, vol. I. Philadel-

phia: American Society for Testing and Materials; 1992. p. 519

46.

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