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Fracture analysis of strength undermatched Al-Alloy welds in edge cracked tensile panels using FITNET procedure

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This paper presents a methodology for the assessment of the remaining load carrying capacity of thin-walled components under tension containing highly strength undermatched welds and edge cracks. The analysis is based on the strength mismatch option of the fracture module, part of the newly developed European fitness-for-service (FFS) procedure FITNET. The mismatch option of the FITNET fracture module allows weld features such as weld tensile properties and weld geometry to be taken into account in the fracture analysis of cracked welded components. The methodology described was verified for centre cracked Al-alloy large tensile panels containing undermatched welds in Ref. [ 1] and hence the present work provides validation with experimental results of the single edge cracked (SEC) and double edge cracked (DEC) panels. The material used is an age-hardening aluminium alloy 6013 in T6 temper condition used in welded airframe components. The welds in the form of butt joints were produced using the CO2 laser beam welding process. The results show that by using the FITNET FFS methodology with an appropriate selection of the input parameters, safe acceptable predictions of the maximum load carrying capacity of the welded panels can be obtained. It should also be noted that one of the main difficulties that engineers encounter when applying mismatch analysis for first time is its apparent complexity. A step-by-step analysis is proposed here in order to provide guidance for this kind of assessments.
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Keywords: FITNET; aluminium alloys; double edge crack; laser beam welding; single edge crack; undermatch

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Cantabria, ETS Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Av. Los Castros s/n, 39005, Santander, Spain 2: Dokuz Eylul University, Faculty of Engineering, 35100, Bornova, Izmir, Turkey 3: GKSS Research Center, Institute for Materials Research, Department of Joining and Assessment (WMF), Max-Planck-Str. 1, D-21502 Geesthacht, Germany

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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