Effects of weld profile and undercut on fatigue crack propagation life of thin-walled cruciform joint
Mashiri, FR and Zhao, XL and Grundy, P, Effects of weld profile and undercut on fatigue crack propagation life of thin-walled cruciform joint, Thin-Walled Structures, 39, (3) pp. 261-285. ISSN 0263-8231 (2001) [Refereed Article]
Fatigue may occur in undercarriages and support systems of trailers, haymakers, graders and swing-ploughs made up of thin-walled tubular sections with wall thicknesses less than 4 mm. Little research has been done on the fatigue of thin-walled tubular sections below 4 mm thickness. The weld profile and weld undercut may affect the fatigue crack propagation life of welded joints especially for thin-walled sections. Numerical analysis of 2-dimensional non-load carrying thin-walled cruciform joints was performed to determine the effect of weld profile and weld undercut on fatigue crack propagation life under cyclic tensile loading. The cruciform joints analyzed are made up of 3 mm thick plates, joined by fillet welds. The Boundary Element Analysis System Software (BEASY) is used, which uses fracture mechanics theory to carry out crack propagation analysis. The weld profiles and weld undercuts were measured from welded connections in thin-walled fillet welded sections. The measured weld profiles and undercut were used in the analysis. The results are compared with those of a similar study to determine the comparative reduction in fatigue crack propagation life between thin-walled cruciform joints (T = 3 mm) and thicker walled cruciform joints (T = 20 mm). This paper provides an understanding of the impact which weld toe undercut has on the fatigue crack propagation life of thin-walled cruciform joints. The presence of undercuts may reduce the benefits of the thickness effect in thin-walled joints of thicknesses less than 4 mm.