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Fatigue Analysis (FEA)

Fatigue Analysis
Structures are designed to withstand extreme loads, but when subjected to repeated applications of load, they can fail through fatigue, under loads which are significantly lower than the extreme loads.

Fatigue cracks usually initiate on the surface of a component, where there is a stress concentration. Local geometric features are particularly important with regard to fatigue life, as they can cause high localised stresses to occur.

In addition, welded joints can be particularly prone to fatigue failures, as they will exhibit high tensile residual stresses if post-welding heat treatment is not undertaken.

Eatec has extensive experience of fatigue analysis. Generally a finite element analysis (FEA) is performed to determine the stress ranges, and then depending upon the complexity of the loadings, the fatigue life is determined using in-house codes or the bespoke fatigue life post-processing codes FE-Safe™ and Verity®.

Some of the benefits of performing a finite element analysis (FEA) based fatigue life calculation over physical testing are:

  • The fatigue life can be calculated before any components are made, avoiding the investment and time involved with prototype tooling.
  • Physical testing can be relatively slow and expensive, particularly where there are a number of load combinations to be considered. Using an FEA model, a fatigue analysis can be performed for multiple load combinations in an efficient and timely manner.
  • A fatigue life calculation based on finite element analysis (FEA) can provide information for all regions where the life is relatively short, and these can be redesigned in one iteration. With physical testing, the life to the first failure will be determined, but other locations, where the life may be only slightly longer, may not be identified in the initial testing.
  • Design changes can be assessed quickly and efficiently using the techniques based on finite element analysis.

Eatec has experience of performing fatigue life assessments against a number of standards, including Eurocode 3, Eurocode 9, BS 7608 and various ASME standards.

In some instances, it is not necessary to perform a finite element analysis, and relatively simple calculations will provide results which are sufficiently accurate. Eatec has the expertise to be able to identify when this is the case, and can undertake a fatigue calculation which will provide results with the required level of accuracy in a cost and time efficient manner.

Eatec has over 30 years experience of providing finite element analysis (FEA) consultancy services to a wide range of national and international clients in industries which include oil & gas, power, marine, processing, defence, transport and industrial.

Click here to see examples of FEA fatigue life projects.

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