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International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762

www.elsevier.com/locate/ijfatigue
Inuence of steel strength on the fatigue reliability of welded
structural components
Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares

Unit of Marine Technology and Engineering, Technical University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior Te cnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Received 7 January 2003; received in revised form 23 October 2003; accepted 27 October 2003
Abstract
A formulation is presented for the fatigue reliability assessment of imperfect structural components. The model adopts the R6
method, which combines the linear elastic fracture mechanics approach and the full plastic collapse. The utilisation of dierent
steel strength and design solutions is studied. Reliability is predicted by a time variant formulation and the eect of maintenance
is taken into account. It is shown that the savings in cost due to lighter structure of higher strength steel are mitigated by the cost
of more frequent inspections and eventually repairs.
# 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Ships are usually designed based on allowable stres-
ses and checks are made for yielding, ultimate loads
and fatigue. The application of high tensile steel is a
common practice nowadays and there are even
research eorts to consider the applicability of very
high strength steels with yield strength up to 690 MPa
[14]. This allows reducing the thickness of the struc-
ture, which can tolerate higher stress levels and as a
result fatigue strength becomes a driving design factor.
There is not much dierence in the fatigue behaviour
of steels of dierent yield strength at the phase of crack
initiation. However, dierences exist in the crack
propagation regime and this can inuence the design
solutions chosen.
In adopting higher strength steel instead of the tra-
ditional mild steel, designers often look for a solution
in which the structures can be subjected to higher loads
resulting from more extreme operational conditions or
from lighter thin plated structures. These design solu-
tions will result in dierent fatigue life for the same
type of steel. Therefore, this paper explores the con-
sequences of dierent design strategies when adopting
high strength steel and shows their impact when using
steels of dierent properties. Since in ship structures
plates are normally inspected and some are repaired or
replaced during the ships lifetime, the study considers
the entire lifetime of the structure and includes the
eect of repair.
Fatigue life is aected by the randomness of loads,
structural geometry, quality of welds and welding
defects as well as material properties and this recom-
mends the adoption of probabilistic approaches. The
fatigue life of the welded details is predominantly con-
trolled by the growth of pre-existing defects that lead
to small cracks. There are two methods for the evalu-
ation of the fatigue life, the SN approach, which is
used at design stage, and the fracture mechanics
approach.
Fracture mechanics provides an approach of deter-
mining the fatigue life of cracked components. Once a
crack is detected, the integrity of the structure can be
evaluated and the crack growth can be predicted by
fracture mechanics.
An approach that describes the failure modes under
tensile loading resulting in either fracture or plastic col-
lapse is the R6 method [13]. The method was
developed for pressure vessels, which often have very
thick walls in which three-dimensional eects develop

Corresponding author. Tel.: +351-21-841-7607; fax: +351-21-847-


4015.
E-mail address: guedess@mar.ist.utl.pt (C. Guedes Soares).
0142-1123/$ - see front matter #2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijfatigue.2003.10.020
and the cracked structural component can have nal
failure due to brittle or ductile fracture.
The R6 method combines the linear elastic fracture
mechanics failure and the fully plastic collapse of the
cracked structure named as two criteria. The two-
failure criterion includes two sets of independent
material properties. The plastic collapse depends on
yield stress only, while the brittle fracture depends on
the critical value of the stress intensity factor K
IC
.
Realistic reliability analysis of structural components
requires the consideration of the possible deterioration
of the structural resistance with time. This may be
either due to eects such as crack initiation and propa-
gation under cyclic loading, to corrosion or by a com-
bination of them [10]. The failure mode depends on
material properties, loading conditions, geometry of
the structure and other factors. Depending on the
respective failure conditions, which are to be analysed,
i.e. serviceability or ultimate collapse, dierent crack
growth models and failure criteria can be adopted as
presented by Schall and Ostergaard [22].
The present paper adopts a dierent approach than
the methods presented by the referred authors, where
the limit state of the crack growth process is adopted
as the only criterion for failure. Here, the failure con-
dition is described as depending on the elasto-plastic
collapse through the R6 approach that presents the
strength assessment of cracked components in a deter-
ministic way. A time dependent formulation to assess
fatigue reliability is adopted here and it is shown that
this method is sensitive to dierent parameters of fabri-
cation and inspection quality as well as to the inspec-
tion policies.
Reliability formulation is used to determine when the
structure needs repair and the number of repairs
required during the lifetime of the structure is used as a
parameter that qualies the design adopted.
2. Fatigue assessment
The total fatigue life of a structural component is the
sum of the time to crack initiation and the time of
crack propagation until critical crack size. For a very
small initial defect and low load levels, there may be a
signicant crack initiation period.
The prediction of the time to crack initiation is based
on the hypothesis that the crack location is subjected
to cyclic stress as a small laboratory specimen. Cyclic
material properties obtained from tests on un-notched
specimens are used to evaluate the material behaviour
in the notch root, taking into account the elastic and
elasto-plastic stress and strain. Small cracks are defects
that can always be found during the fabrication pro-
cess in welded structures.
The period of crack initiation is very short relative to
the crack propagation period. However, it should not
be neglected in the situation when the welds are
improved by post-weld treatment. The crack initiation
life of the material under cyclic stress and strain can be
also described by the fatigue life curves using either the
total strain or a special damage parameter, that takes
into account the inuence of the mean stress [24].
Fricke and Paetzold [7] consider the existence of the
time to crack initiation in fatigue calculations for ship
structures. An expression for the assessment of the time
to crack initiation is also proposed by Akita [1]. For
some purposes, it is practical and suciently accurate
to assume that the time to crack initiation T
i
is related
with the time of crack propagation until critical size T
p
as proposed by the Bureau Veritas [4], T
i
K
T
T
p
;
where K
T
can vary in an interval of 0.1 to 0.15. For the
present study, a value of 0.15 is used.
Two main approaches are available for the evalu-
ation of fatigue. The one perhaps more oriented to
design formulations is the (SN) approach that predicts
the fatigue damage as a function of the number of
cycles at various stress levels. It is a relatively simple
method to apply but it depends on the geometry under
consideration.
The other approach is fracture mechanics. This
method can predict crack size as a function of time and
the Paris and Erdogan [20] equation may be used:
da
dN
CDK
m
1
where a is the crack size, N is the number of cycles, DK
is the stress range intensity factor, and C and m are
material parameters.
The stress intensity factor is given as:
DK DrYa

pa
p
2
where Dr is the stress range and Y(a) is a geometry
function.
This approach is to be applied to a crack in a trans-
verse butt-welded joint. It is assumed that a crack can
be initiated at the weld between the plates and it can
propagate through the thickness of the plate in the
transverse direction by decreasing the net section of the
plate that resists longitudinal loading. This joint is a
realistic one for longitudinal elements of the main ship
hull girder.
Since in this work a comparison will be made of
crack propagation in dierent materials, it is possible
to use simplied models for crack propagation. Thus, it
is assumed that Nm
0
t and Ya Y is a constant and
after substitution of Eq. (2) into Eq. (1) and inte-
754 Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762
gration, one obtains:
at a
1m=2
0
1
m
2
_ _
CDr
m
Y
m
p
m=2
m
0
t
_ _
1=1m=2
;
m 6 2 3
where m
0
is the mean upcrossing rate and t is the time;
Dr
m
is the mth power of the stress range. It has to be
pointed out that for most of the structural joints, the
geometry function is not a constant and the crack size
has to be evaluated numerically.
Considering that the load can be described by the
Weibull distribution [11], the stress range Dr
m
can be
presented as:
Dr
m
c
m
Dr
C 1
m
a
Dr
_ _
4
The scale parameter c
Dr
of the Weibull distribution
is determined from the shape parameter and the refer-
ence stress range response Dr
0
, which is exceeded once
out of the corresponding reference number of the stress
cycles N
0
The latter is determined as the stress range
that corresponds to the N
1
0
probability level and C[ ] is
the incomplete gamma function.
The time for crack propagation T
p
from the initial size
a
0
to the critical crack size a
cr
if m6 2 is calculated as:
T
p

a
1m=2
cr
a
1m=2
0
1
m
2
_ _
CDr
m
Y
m
p
m=2
m
0
5
The complete fatigue life T
f
is then equal to the sum
of the time to crack initiation T
i
with the time to crack
propagation until its critical size T
p
.
The linear elastic fracture mechanics assumes that
the material does not develop a large plastic tip zone
and this can cause signicant error in the predictions.
However, in many marine structures, most of the struc-
tural components are relatively thin and are unable to
maintain a true plane strain condition and the appli-
cation of low steel leads to a very large critical crack
length that cannot be accepted. The application of high
tensile steel allows higher stress levels in structural
detail and at the same time a decrease of the thickness
of the components with the corresponding changes in
building cost.
The utilisation of steels with dierent material char-
acteristics causes dierent behaviour of the crack
propagation and requires a design philosophy to be set.
The material properties r
y
yield stress (N/mm
2
), r
B

ultimate stress (N/mm


2
) and the descriptors of crack
propagation C and m can be found in many places in
the literature as for example in [5,8,12,25,26]. To illus-
trate possible crack behaviour, four dierent steels are
studied, and three design solutions are investigated and
for the cases studied here, those parameters are pre-
sented in Table 1. Steel 1 is related to the low carbon
steel while steel 4 is the high tensile one. All types of
steel used as examples here are typical weldable struc-
tural steels.
The variation of the crack propagation rate (mm/
cycle) as a function stress intensity factor (N/mm
3/2
)
for the steels is presented in Table 1. Calculations were
performed under the consideration that the structural
component is welded by a full penetration butt-weld
with a crack growing transverse to the weld axis. It may
be classied as butt-weld class D based on British Stan-
dards (BS5400) [3] or Norwegian Standards (NS3472)
[18], with the initial crack size being a
0
0:25 mm, fre-
quency m
0
0:067 s
1
and the load coecient k 0:188.
It can be seen from Fig. 1 that for a simulation of a crack
size of a 80 mm in the structural component from steel
1 the rate of crack propagation is 10
3.72
mm/cycle and
the crack size is achieved after 19.7 years.
For the same crack size, the detail manufactured
from steel 2 develops a crack rate of 10
3.36
mm/cycle
and the crack size is achieved after 3 years. For the
details made from steel 3 and 4, crack rates of 10
3.16
and 10
3.14
mm/cycle and the time to achieve a crack
size of 80 mm are 0.6 and 0.8 years, respectively. It is
obvious that the high tensile steels develop higher rates
of crack propagation and require less time for achiev-
ing certain crack size under the same initial condition.
It has to be pointed out that there is no signicant dif-
ference in the fatigue behaviour of the steels studied
here in the phase of crack initiation.
When comparing components designed with steels of
dierent strength, it is assumed that the choice of
Table 1
Material parameters
r
y
(N/mm
2
) r
B
(N/mm
2
) m C
Steel 1 268 456 3.5 8:85 10
15
Steel 2 312 524 3 3:80 10
13
Steel 3 437 655 2.4 1:75 10
11
Steel 4 402 512 2.6 5:27 10
12
Fig. 1. Crack rate variation as a function of steel grade, k
l
0:188.
Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762 755
higher strength steel can be made to achieve dierent
objectives in design and thus three dierent design
solutions are considered in this paper. The design solu-
tions include case I (same load ratio), in which the
structural components from dierent steel strength are
subjected to the same ratio of nominal stress relative to
the yield stress, i.e. the structure with higher strength
steel will be subjected to higher stresses. Case II (same
thickness) is the situation in which the structural com-
ponents are built from dierent steels, have the same
thickness and the same loading but a dierent ratio of
nominal stress relative to the yield stress, i.e. the stres-
ses will be the same in both cases and thus the safety
margin will be larger in the higher strength steel. Case
III (one repair) represents the situation where only one
replacement or repair is allowed during a reference per-
iod of time (20 years) after the crack initiation. To
achieve such a criterion, an increase of plate thickness
has to be made so as to lead to the reduction of the
loading of the joints manufactured by the steel that tol-
erates higher crack growth rate. The crack propagation
for all studied cases is shown in Figs. 2 and 3.
The point of time where the crack growth calculated
by the formula of ParisErdogan changes its sign from
positive to negative is called explosion time and can be
related with an innite crack growth as was suggested
by Sindel et al. [23]:
T
exp

a
1m=2
0
1
m
2
_ _
Cp
m=2
Dr
m
m
0
Y
m
6
The crack explosion time depends on crack size and
has a physical restriction. It can be shown that for cer-
tain values of time, the crack length can have a singu-
lar value and for some values of time even a negative
value of size. It has to be noticed that such phenomena
exist due to the approximation in the model of the
crack growth rate and additional discussion may be
found in Sindel et al. [23].
It is considered that whenever there is a plate failure
which occurs at the time of crack explosion, the plate is
replaced. Therefore, the number of repairs calculated is
counted as the number of crack explosion periods that
can occur in a time interval of 20 years. The summary
of the results for the crack growth as a function of
design thickness, load and number of repairs is given in
Tables 24 and Figs. 24.
It can be seen that keeping the ratio of nominal
stress to the yield stress constant will permit reduction
of the thickness (see Fig. 4, A) of the structural compo-
nents from high tensile steels, but at the same time it
will increase the rate of crack propagation that will
result in a more intensive repair work (case I) (see
Fig. 4, B).
If all structural components are manufactured with
the same thickness (case II) and if they are explored in
similar environmental conditions, this will result in a
situation where components built from low carbon
steel will be much more stressed (relatively to the yield
stress) than those from high tensile steel (see Fig. 4, C).
The maximum number of repairs continues to occur in
the components made from high tensile steel (see Fig. 4,
D).
In case III where the design philosophy is that only
one repair is allowed during the fatigue life of 20 years,
this results in an increase of the thickness for the ele-
ments with high tensile steel (see Fig. 4, E) and this
reects in a reduction of the stress level, as a percent-
age of the yield stress (see Fig. 4, F).
Fig. 2. Crack propagation (leftsame load and rightsame thickness).
756 Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762
3. Reliability assessment of unrepaired component
To nd out a reasonable solution for the problem
discussed here, a time variant reliability approach is
formulated based on the R6 approach.
Based on the R6 method, four levels of fracture
assessment procedures of increasing accuracy and com-
plexity are incorporated in the British Standards (BS
7910) [2]. Level 1 is termed the screening method and is
generally more conservative than Levels 3 and 4. Levels
2 and 3 are partly based on the R6 method.
The fracture assessment procedure is based on the
concept of the failure assessment diagram. The hori-
zontal axis represents the likelihood of failure by plas-
tic collapse, while the vertical axis that of the
toughness input in terms of stress intensity, which is
the likelihood of failure by fracture. In general, the
interaction between these two modes of failure is
accounted for by a failure curve on the fatigue assess-
ment diagram and the stress limit of instability of crack
propagation may be given as:
r
f

2r
y
p
arccos exp
pK
2
IC
8r
2
y
a
_ _ _ _
1
_
_
_
_
_
_
7
Eq. (7) used here as an example for fatigue assessment
criteria is dierent than the one specied by British
Energy R6, Rev. 4, 2001, and does not limit the pro-
posed approach.
The critical stress intensity factor for all steels stud-
ied here (all typical weldable structural steels used in
marine and shipbuilding application) is calculated
based on the consideration that half crack length
equals 80 mm. This consideration is based on the fact
that for the marine structures that belong to the high
risk class structure, any crack detected during the
inspection has to be treated (repair or replacement of
structural component) independent of the fact that
some cracks may still propagate much time before
reaching their critical length. In the present approach,
only one repair strategy is applied, such that the
repaired structural component behaves as a new one
without taking into account any possible collateral
damaging eect of the repair action.
The assessment of the stresses generates an assess-
ment point on the fatigue assessment diagram. If this
point lies on or within the assessment curve, then the
crack length is acceptable. If the assessment point lies
outside the assessment curve, the crack is not accept-
able and some action is required for example repair or
replacement. It should be noted that in terms of the
fatigue assessment diagram, plastic collapse usually
refers to local straining of the ligament near the crack,
rather than global yielding of the structure.
The threshold limit 1(t) for the period of time when
crack is initiated t > T
i
, (at >a
0
) is given as:
1t
2r
y
p
arccos exp
pK
2
IC
8r
2
y
at
_ _ _ _
1
_
_
_
_
_
_
; t > T
i
8
The material can sustain a certain amount of slow
stable crack growth after the time of crack initiation
Table 3
Design solutionscase II (same thickness)
Steel Thickness
(mm)
Dr
(MPa)
k
l
()
Repairs
()
T
exp
(years)
t
a80 mm
(years)
I 10.00 50.57 0.189 1 20 19.7
II 10.00 50.57 0.169 4 4.95 4.7
III 10.00 50.57 0.116 7.1 2.82 1.9
IV 10.00 50.57 0.126 7 2.85 2.3
Fig. 3. Crack propagation (only one repair).
Table 2
Design solutionscase I (same load)
Steel Thickness
(mm)
Dr
(MPa)
k
l
()
Repairs
()
T
exp
(years)
t
a80 mm
(years)
I 10.00 50.57 0.189 1 20 19.7
II 8.59 58.87 0.189 6.4 3.14 2.96
III 6.13 82.45 0.189 23 0.87 0.59
IV 6.67 75.85 0.189 20.2 0.99 0.82
Table 4
Design solutionscase III (only one repair)
Steel Thickness
(mm)
Dr
(MPa)
k
l
()
Repairs
()
T
exp
(years)
t
a80 mm
(years)
I 10.00 50.57 0.189 1 20 19.7
II 15.93 31.75 0.102 1 20 20
III 22.63 22.34 0.015 1 20 20
IV 21.16 23.90 0.059 1 20 20
Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762 757
and the failure can occur after a period of stable crack
growth by increasing crack velocity or by brittle frac-
ture associated with low temperature. The probability
of failure after crack initiation is described as [10]:
P
a
T 1 exp
_
T
0
m1tdt
_ _
; t > T
i
9
If the loading is considered as a stationary Gaussian
process, or even non-stationary and non-Gaussian, and
the stress amplitudes follow the Weibull distribution,
the upcrossing rate of the threshold may be given as [17]:
m1t m
0
exp
1t
c
Dr
_ _
a
Dr
_ _
10
Using the same principle for the probability of fail-
ure before crack initiation is given as:
P
b
T 1 exp exp
1
c
Dr
_ _
m
0
T
_ _
; t T
i
11
The probability of non-failure before and after crack
initiation R(t) is obtained as:
Rt 1 P

t 12
where the probability of failure P

is to be understood
as before (P
b
) or after (P
a
) crack initiation depending
on the status of the fatigue crack growth. Since the
time to crack initiation is a random variable, the con-
ditional reliability of the element with a crack may be
expressed as follows:
RT
_
T
0
Rtjt
i
f
t
i
tdt 13
where R(t|t
i
) is the conditional reliability under the con-
dition that the crack is initiated at time t and f
t
i
t is
the probability density function of the time to crack
initiation that is described by a Weibull probability
density function:
f
T
i
t
a
T
i
c
T
i
t
c
T
i
_ _
a
T
i
1
exp
t
c
T
i
_ _
a
T
i
_ _
14
where a
T
i
2 and c
T
i
18 years are considered here.
Some authors prefer to describe the time to crack
initiation by the lognormal distribution, although there
is not much experimental evidence to choose one or the
other. However, since the initiation time is quite small
compared with the propagation time, the dierent
choice may not have a large impact.
Taking into account the probability of time to crack
initiation for the reliability in the service life, [0,T] is
written as:
RT1F
t
i
TR
b
T
_
T
0
f
t
i
tR
b
tR
a
Ttdt 15
The rst term is the probability of non-failure under
the condition that the crack is not initiated before the
time for inspection [0,T]. The second term is the prob-
ability of non-failure under the condition that the crack
is initiated in a service time [0,T].
Figs. 57 present the results obtained for all types of
steels (steels 14) and design solutions (cases IIII).
Fig. 5a shows that in the basic case of steel 1, there is
no repair until 20 years. The component of steel 2 has
a repair at 3.14 years and this will require 6 repairs
Fig. 4. Design solutions in terms of plate thickness and the lifetime number of required repairs.
758 Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762
during the 20 years. For steels 3 and 4, the reliability
functions decrease abruptly as there are repairs before
1 year (see Table 2), and in the scale of the gure, the
reliability function coincides with the axis of the ordi-
nates.
Fig. 5b depicts the reliability functions for case II,
which is summarised in Table 3. The explosion times
for steels 24 are larger in this case and the numbers of
repairs during lifetime are around 4 for steels 2 and 7
for steels 3 and 4.
Fig. 6a shows case III in which the thickness has to
be very much increased for all high strength steels. As
a consequence, the reliability function is always higher
than that for mild steel obviously at the cost of more
material and weight.
Figs. 6b and 7 show the same results in a dierent
way. For steel 2 adopting design solutions 1 and 2, i.e.
keeping the same relative stress level, and keeping the
same thickness leads to few repairs during lifetime and
the reliability levels are close to each other and lower
than that in case III. The functions applicable to steels
3 and 4 are shown in Fig. 7 and they have the same
type of pattern as steel 2, but the eects are amplied.
In many cases, ship structures are designed so that
there is no need of repair during the lifetime. This cor-
responds to case III and for this to be achieved very
thick structures need to be considered if one wants to
use high strength steel instead of mild steel. Therefore,
in this case, there is no advantage in using high
strength steel.
Fig. 5. Inuence of dierent steels on reliability function (cases I(a) and II(b)).
Fig. 6. Inuence of dierent steels (case III(a)) and dierent design solutions (steel 2(b)) on reliability function.
Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762 759
In case I, keeping the same relative load will allow
one to use thinner plates for the high strength steel sol-
ution and this means lower weights and costs. How-
ever, several repairs will be required during ship
lifetime thus generating additional cost.
Finally, case II shows that by keeping the same
thickness, the relative load on the components will be
lower in the high strength steels and this can be ben-
ecial for other types of failure modes. However, also
in this case, the number of repairs will be higher for
high strength steel.
So, in conclusion, it is observed that the advantages
that high strength steel can bring in cases I and II are
overshadowed by the larger number of repairs required
due to a higher crack propagation rate in these steels.
In order to have the low weight advantage of this
type of steels, one needs to avoid the crack initiation
phase by improved quality of fabrication and structural
details have to be accompanied with a detailed inspec-
tion policy.
There are several other ways of improving the fati-
gue reliability of structural components such as better
design of the geometry of the structural components
that will lead to reduction of stress concentration fac-
tors, better quality of manufacturing and introducing
specialised inspection policies.
When dealing with imperfect and already built struc-
tural components, there are several ways for improve-
ment: frequent inspections, rened tools of inspection,
and special treatment of the repair work that will
reduce the initial defects and as a result the moment of
possible occurrence and propagation of cracks will be
delayed. In fact, the frequent repairs that high strength
steels require increase the probability of introducing
initial defects during repair work and inducing prema-
ture failure.
4. Reliability of repaired component
Inspections are routinely made for structures in ser-
vice and they may result in the detection or non-detec-
tion of the defects. The size of a detected crack is
measured by a non-destructive method. Fatigue dam-
age is expressed by a fatigue crack growth that is a
function of time. It is assumed that if a fatigue crack is
detected, it is repaired.
The inspection quality depends on detecting the
crack and quantifying its size. In principle, each detec-
tion technique will have a limit size of detection, a
d,0
,
under which cracks will not be detected, i.e. in general
for detection, it is necessary that:
at ! a
d;0
16
The inspection procedure is not a deterministic one
because of measuring inaccuracies and therefore the
inspection capability may be described by the prob-
ability of detection [19]:
P
d
t
1 exp
2at a
d;0
k
d
_ _
; if 2at > a
d;0
0; if 2at a
d;0
_
_
_
17
where the descriptors of the above equation as are
considered for the calculation later are k
d
a
d;0
=
ln1 k, k 0:95, a
d;0
5 mm and a
d;k
20 mm.
The inspection quality is characterised by the para-
meter k
d
which has values between 0 and 1. The lower
Fig. 7. Inuence of dierent design solutions on reliability function (steels 3(a) and 4(b)).
760 Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762
limit corresponds to a perfect inspection and when
k
d
1 the plate has not been inspected.
The cracked structural component can be in three
dierent states. The rst one corresponds to the case
when it is not possible to detect any crack because the
crack size is less than a
d,0
. The second state includes
the situation when there is some probability of detec-
tion but the crack size is less than a
d
, thus the prob-
ability of detection is less than P
d
(a
d
) and the element
with a crack is not repaired. The third state represents
the case in which the crack is larger than a
d
and the
element with such a crack is repaired. After repair,
the crack size will be a
0
which is its initial size. The
reliability of the structural component after repair will
be the same as for the new element.
It should be noted that the real measurements of a
crack size usually involve a large scatter on the prob-
ability of detection, which reects the dierent math-
ematical models describing P
d
t. This uncertainty
aects very much the reliability as is shown by Madsen
[16]. Rudlin and Wolstenholme [21] showed that the
choice of an inspection method could have a noticeable
eect on the probability of detection. Detailed analysis
of the problem can be found in Delmar and Sorensen [6].
The structural component can belong to one of the
two states. The rst includes the state where the
component is repaired at the time of the last inspection
T
j
. The second one includes the situation when the
element is not repaired at the time of the last inspec-
tion T
j
.
The reliability in the service interval T
j
;T
j1
of the
element with a crack that is repaired at the time of the
last inspection R
r
l;j1
t is:
R
r
l;j1
t 1 F
t
i
T
j1
T
j
_ _ _
R
b
T
j1
T
j
_ _

_
T
j1
T
j
f
t
i
t T
j
_ _
R
b
t T
j
_ _
R
a
T
j1
t
_ _
dt
18
Using the third axiom of probability theory (e.g.
[15]), the probability of non-failure in the time interval
T
r
;T
j1
_
can be written as:
P C
T
r
;T
j
\ C
T
j
;T
j1
_ _
P C
T
r
;T
j
C
T
j
;T
j1

_ _
P C
T
j
;T
j1
_ _
19
where C
T
r
;t
is the probability of non-failure in the time
interval T
r
;t, where t 2 T
j
;T
j1
and C
T
r
;T
j
are the
probabilities of non-failure in the time interval T
r
;T
j
.
The case C
T
r
;t
implies the probability of non-failure in
all the intervals up to T
j
, C
T
r
;T
j
. The probability of
non-failure in the time interval T
j
;t, where t 2
T
j
;T
j1
is written as C
T
j
;t
.
Eq. (19) may be rewritten as a denition of the con-
ditional probability of non-failure in the service inter-
val T
j
;t as:
P C
T
j
;t
_ _

P C
T
r
;T
j
\ C
T
j
;t
_ _
P C
T
r
;T
j
C
T
j
;t

_ _ 20
However, since the left-hand side of Eq. (20) is equal to
the probability of non-failure for the structural compo-
nent that was not repaired at the time of the last
inspection T
j
, then:
R
nr
l;j1
t P C
T
j
;t
_ _
21
Eqs. (18) and (20) describe the states of crack initiation,
crack growth, crack detection, and repair. At the last
state, the structural component is repaired to its original
condition and the crack propagation starts again.
The formulation presented here is applied for the
reliability assessment of imperfect structural compo-
nent made by steel 3, subject to the nominal stress that
is 0.051 of the yield stress. The inspections are made
every fourth year. However, the proposed approach
may t any specic condition and the load applied here
is just an example to demonstrate its applicability.
Two dierent inspection policies are considered for
comparative analyses. They reect the good
(a
d
! 5 mm) reliability level, where a
d
is calculated as
a
d
2at a
d;0
. An illustration of reliability is shown
in Fig. 8. Having dierent characteristics of inspection
policies keeps reliability at dierent levels. Detailed
analysis of dierent inspection techniques and their
application for structural reliability can also be found
in Garbatov and Guedes Soares [9].
Fig. 8. Inuence of maintenance and repair policies on reliability
function.
Y. Garbatov, C. Guedes Soares / International Journal of Fatigue 26 (2004) 753762 761
5. Conclusion
A model has been presented here which can deter-
mine the fatigue reliability of imperfect structural com-
ponents considering two criterion method (R6), which
combines the linear elastic fracture mechanics
approach and the full plastic collapse. Fatigue
reliability is predicted as a time variant reliability,
which shows step changes whenever a repair is per-
formed. Dierent criteria for crack detection and for
the eect of repair cost can be easily incorporated.
Dierent assumptions were made about loading and
material properties that are not essential to the method
but are needed for the example. The study presented
here has shown the advantages and disadvantages of
utilising high tensile steel for imperfect structural com-
ponents in the stage of crack growth.
The application of high tensile steel requires more
care during the manufacturing process and its use is
reected in frequent inspections and in the required
good quality of repair work. There will be a trade-o
between the savings with reduction of the plate thick-
ness of structural components due to high tensile steel
and reduction of the weight of the structure against the
costs of more frequent repair work and better quality
of manufacturing and inspection polices.
Acknowledgements
This paper is a report of a study developed in the
project, High Tensile Steel 690 in Fast Ship Structures
(FASDHTS), CEC BRITE/EURAM Programme
(20002004), which was partially nanced by the Eur-
opean Union through contract no. GRD1-1999-10558.
The partners were: TNO Building and Construction
Research, Centre for Mechanical Engineering (NL),
GF Industriteknik AB (S), AG der Dillinger Hutten-
werke (D), Alstom Chantiers de lAtlantique (F),
Bureau Veritas (F), Chalmers University of Tech-
nology AB (S), Flensburger Schibau mbH&Co. KG
(D), Germanischer Lloyd AG (D), Instituto Superior
Tecnico (P), Lisnave Estaleiros Navais SA (P), Royal
Schelde group BV (NL), Technische Universitat Ham-
burgHarburg (D) and Van der GiessenDe Noord
shipbuilding division BV (NL).
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