Stochastic nonlinear fatigue crack growth predictions for simple specimens subject to representative ship structural loading sequences


Recent work by the authors investigated an extension of the finite element analysis of plasticity-induced crack closure to non-stationary, ship structural loading sequences by taking advantage of their inherent time-dependent nature in which the larger loading cycles tend to be clustered together. In doing so, first-order load interactions are presumed to arise from the random occurrence and severity of physical storms encountered by ships and offshore structures throughout their service lives. This material hysteresis is captured through a time-dependent crack “opening” level ( K op ) which is based on the evolution of a rate-independent, incremental plasticity model simulating combined nonlinear kinematic and isotropic hardening. The result is a mechanistic rather than phenomenological numerical model requiring only experimentally measured fatigue crack growth rates under constant amplitude, cyclic loading (e.g., ASTM E647-13) and a full material constitutive model defined through experimental push–pull tests for the same material. This approach permits a consideration of material behaviors which are physically relevant to structural steels, yet necessarily omitted in the similar application of a strip-yield model. The present paper generalizes the model originally proposed by the authors to now consider arbitrary storm model loading sequences taken from high-fidelity, time-domain seakeeping codes. To predict the fatigue fracture induced by variable amplitude stress records with upwards of 5 × 10 6 time-dependent cycles, a consistent modeling reduction is applied based on the Ordered Overall Range (OOR) or racetrack counting method. The resultant crack growth behavior is demonstrated to converge remarkably well for sufficiently small refined mesh sizes. Using this model, and by considering different arrangements of the same stress record, the importance of nonlinearities (i.e., those associated with ship response as well as material hysteresis) are emphasized.

International Journal of Fatigue