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International Journal of Fatigue 25 (2003) 9991005

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.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +49-5251-602203; fax: +49-5251-


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

0.26 2.65(a/ (wa))


1 0.55(a/ (wa))0.08[(a/ (wa))]
2
K
II
(3)
F
wt
pa
sina
1a/ w

0.23 1.40(a/ (wa))


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.
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