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Fatigue: damaging process under repeated loading

Fatigue limit: alternating stress level below which no failure occurs for an
unlimited number of cycles
Fatigue life: number of stress cycles to failure for a defined cyclic stress
Fatigue strength: alternating stress level corresponding to fatigue failure
for a defined number of cycles
Why fatigue is getting more important now
Ratio between variable load and self-weight increases, thus greater
stress range (this is because self weight is reducing due to higher strength
material, while load remain same. Thus variable load is now a higher
proportion of total load
Increase of load intensity compared to design
New applications
Probabilistic design fatigue check
Concrete versus Steel
Composite material
Homogeneous material
Many micro cracks
One macro crack
Notch insensitive
Notch sensitive
High scatter of properties
Low scatter of properties
Emphasis on material
Emphasis on connections
Risk of Fatigue Damage
Risk is Increased by Secondary effects: crack width increase may result
in corrosion)
Risk is Reduced by Concrete strength increase after 28-days
Redistribution of internal forces
Sources of Variable Stresses in concrete
Traffic, cranes, machines
Wind, waves
Restrained/Imposed deformations Shrinkage / swelling Temperature
Frost-thaw cycles
Number of Load Cycles
Low-cycle high amplitude fatigue < 103 Cycles
High-cycle low amplitude fatigue > 103 Cycles
Influencing Factors
Internal 1. Dimensions 2. concrete composition 3. reinforcement
External 1. Loading
2. Frequency
3. rest periods
Environmental 1. hardening conditions (temp., RH) 2. working life
3. corrosive, in/under water, .
Concrete Material Aspects
Properties 1. Composition 2. preparation and hardening
1. inhomogeneous (dimensions coarse aggregate
compared to sectional dimensions) 2. micro cracks (restrained volume
changes; temperature, shrinkage)

These aspect of Concrete material Results in

- high scatter
- relatively notch insensitive
- continuing hydration (self-healing)
- crack growth at many
Stresses at Fatigue Failure
Notched elastic-plastic member
Mostly yield stress is reached
Failure after repeated yield strain
only stress range
Brittle member
Failure at fatigue strength
Both maximum stress and stress range
Deformation under Repeated Loading
With number of load
reduced stiffness
reduced energy
increased deformation
Ultimate strain
independent from load level

Fatigue Damage Accumulation

longitudinal strain
acoustic emission
velocity Palmgren-Miner hypothesis

ultrasonic pulse

Fracture Mechanics

Crack Growth History

Crack propagation life Np is to be
determined. Assessment of crack
propagation life:
How many cycles from initial
defect to critical crack size? We
notice 3 stages
I Crack initiation stage
II Crack propagation (with stable
crack growth)
III Crack propagation (without stable
crack growth)
0.15 mm is a typical limit for crack

Initial defect (from inspection or assumed length from welding defect)
Critical crack size (through thickness, plastic or brittle failure)
Stress range
Number of load cycles
Geometry of (welded) connection
Crack growth material parameters
Theory - stress in crack tip

Fracture of an elastic material: consider a 2-dimensional, infinitely wide plate of

elastic material with central crack. Griffith used the linear elastic stress analysis
solution for the stresses around an elliptical hole in a plate subject to uniform
tension. He allowed the ellipse to degenerate to a crack and derived an
expression for the energy released when an element of material at the end of the
crack fractured to give incremental extension of the crack. He then suggested
that, if the energy released was greater than the surface tension or cohesive
force energy which had been holding the element together, then the situation
was unstable, and continued unstable crack extension (i.e. fracture) would occur.

Experiments glass (Griffith)

Fracture stress decreases with a
is measure of surface energy:


where C

2 E . e


surface tension. Thus there will be no fracture if

The term
is dependent only on the applied stress and crack size, and
defines the gradient of stress with inverse square root of distance away from the
singularity at the crack tip. The term

was defined by Irwin as the stress

e is

intensity factor and given the symbol K. It should be noted that K is not a stress
concentration factor, and that K has dimensions and units of stress x

Energy release rate

Unloading over circle (approximation).
Energy release rate G in circle:
G= a2


Surface energy increases (new surface with

4 a . e
surface tension ):
Total energy in plate is


The description of the stress intensity factor given earlier is based on the
simple case of an infinite plate with a central crack of length 2a subject to
remote tension stress. This mode of loading is known as Mode 1 and the
stress intensity factor resulting from this loading is strictly K1. There are
two other forms of loading which produce a similar effect of a stress
singularity because forces cannot be transmitted across the free surfaces
of a crack. These forms are shear loadings parallel to the crack surfaces
either in the plane of the plate, also known as edge sliding, (Mode II stress
intensity factor KII), or perpendicular to the plane of the plate, also known
as skew sliding or antiplane strain, (Mode III stress intensity factor KIII).
These three different forms of loading are shown in Figure 2. In practice in
structural components there may be combinations of the different modes
to consider.

Plastic zone
In real materials used for structural purposes, such as structural steels, the
infinite stresses predicted by elastic theory at a crack tip are relieved by the
occurrence of yielding. A first approximation to the size of the plastic zone at a
crack tip is given by finding the distance r y from the crack tip at which the elastic
stress level is equal to the yield strength.

Crack growth rate

The proposal that the rate of crack propagation per cycle should be controlled by the range of
the stress intensity factor for the cycle was first made by P C Paris as part of his research
work. The general relationship now known universally as the Paris Law is as follows:

= C(K)m (1)


Paris law(1979): for subcritical crack size

(K<Kc) there is a relation between the SIF
range (K) and the crack growth rate

da/dN is crack growth rate per cycle
C and m are material constants,

is the range of stress intensity

factor at the crack tip

Experimental work to investigate the relationship between fatigue crack

growth rate and range of stress intensity factor can be presented on a
graph of da/dN against DK. In general, such a graph on log-log scales
shows three regions. At the bottom end there is a threshold region of DK
below which cracks do not propagate. This threshold value, DK m, is
dependent on both mean stress and environmental conditions. At the top
end of the graph the rate of fatigue crack propagation may be increased if
the upper end of the applied stress intensity factor range approaches the
material fracture toughness. In between these regions the graph is
generally linear on logarithmic scales. By taking logarithms of both sides
of Equation (1) it can be seen that it predicts that log da/dN should be
proportional to log DK, so that the slope of the straight line is the constant
m, and the position of the line is determined by the constant C.

A, m and Kth are material dependent

parameters (steel, aluminium)
A, m and Kth are independent of the
geometry of the detail!
A, and Kth depend on the residual
stress level
There is a possibility of taking account of
the residual stress level
Practice: assume high residual stresses
(>0.5 fy)
da/dN is the rate of crack growth per cycle
K (or SIF) is the range of stress intensity
factor at the crack tip
Kmat = fracture toughness
Kth or Ktr = threshold level
R dependent laws only for base material

Crack growth tests

Several types of standard
SEN4B (4 point bending)

Crack growth monitoring:

Camera or microscope (visual)

SEN3B (3 point bending)

Alternate current Potential Drop


Compact tension (CT)

Strain gauges

SENT (Single Edge Notch


Crack marking


Clip gauge

Corrosion crack growth rate

A corrosive environment such as seawater influences the crack growth
The crack growth may be retarded by the corrosion product crack closure)
The crack growth may be accelerated by hydrogen embrittlement.
Furthermore, corrosion pits may act as fatigue crack starting points.

What is the difference between the stress concentration factor and stress intensity factorThe stress concentration
factor is a number that raises stress locally due to factors such asholes and change in cross section. In the latter

case, the sharper the radius at he crosssection change, the higher the stress concentration. Typically, these factors
range from 1to 3 and sometimes more.Stress intensity factor is a bit different; it is an inherent property of the
material that istested and defined for cracks or flaws. For cracks and flaws, the radius is very small,approaching
zero for sharp corners, and stress concentration factors become very veryhigh, approaching infinity. In this case
we use the measured stress intensity factor andequations of fracture mechanics to calculate allowable stresses.

Stress concentration factors are due to geometrial changes of cross sections and regardless of
the load condition such as bending,stretching,shearing,.... Therefore, you can find these
factors mentioned in tables or figures in handbooks .No matter of what kind of load condition,
you can choose the one corresponding to your geometry during your design.
However , when there is a crack in your model, the stress intensity factor comes into design
which not only is dependent to geometry also extremely to load condition and that's why you
can't find these factors easily in handbooks. They are determined experimentally according to
each part geometry and load condition.