Comparison between different approaches for the evaluation of the hot spot structural stress in welded pressure vessel components

Muscat, Martin and Degiorgio, Kevin and Wood, James (2009) Comparison between different approaches for the evaluation of the hot spot structural stress in welded pressure vessel components. In: ASME Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference, 2009-07-26 - 2009-07-30.

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    Abstract

    Fatigue cracks in welds often occur at the toe of a weld where stresses are difficult to calculate at the design stage. To circumvent this problem the ASME Boiler and PV code Section VIII Division 2 Part 5 [1] uses the structural stress normal to the expected crack to predict fatigue life using elastic analysis and as welded fatigue curves. The European Unfired Pressure Vessel Code [2] uses a similar approach. The structural stress excludes the notch stress at the weld toe itself. The predicted fatigue life has a strong dependency on the calculated value of structural stress. This emphasizes the importance of having a unique and robust way of extracting the structural stress from elastic finite element results. Different methods are available for the computation of the structural hotspotstress at welded joints. These are based on the extrapolation of surface stresses close to the weld toe, on the linearisation of stresses in the through-thickness direction or on the equilibrium of nodal forces. This paper takes a critical view on the various methods and investigates the effects of the mesh quality on the value of the structural stress. T-shaped welded plates under bending are considered as a means for illustration.