Fatigue Life Prediction on Steel Beam Bridges under Variable Amplitude Loading

Steel bridges are normally subjected to random loads with different traffic frequencies. They are structures with dynamic behavior and are subject to fatigue failure process, where the nucleation of a crack, growth and failure can occur. After locating and determining the size of an existing fault, it is important to predict the crack propagation and the convenient time for repair. Therefore, fracture mechanics and fatigue concepts are essential to the right approach to the problem. To study the fatigue crack growth, a computational code was developed by using the root mean square (RMS) and the cycle-by-cycle models. One observes the variable amplitude loading influence on the life structural prediction. Different loads histories and initial crack length were considered as input variables. Thus, it was evaluated the dispersion of results of the expected structural life choosing different initial parameters.

Optimization of Tolerance Grades of a Bearing and Shaft Assembly in a Washing Machine with Regard to Fatigue Life

The drum is one of the critical parts in a washing machine in which the clothes are washed and spin by the rotational movement. It is activated by the drum shaft which is attached to an electric motor and subjected to dynamic loading. Being one of the critical components, failures of the drum require costly repairs of dynamic components. In this study, tolerance bands between the drum shaft and its two bearings were examined to develop a relationship between the fatigue life of the shaft and the interaction tolerances. Optimization of tolerance bands was completed in consideration of the fatigue life of the shaft as the cost function. The following methodology is followed: multibody dynamic model of a washing machine was constructed and used to calculate dynamic loading on the components. Then, these forces were used in finite element analyses to calculate the stress field in critical components which was used for fatigue life predictions. The factors affecting the fatigue life were examined to find optimum tolerance grade for a given test condition. Numerical results were verified by experimental observations.

Reliability Analysis for Cyclic Fatigue Life Prediction in Railroad Bolt Hole

Bolted rail joint is one of the most vulnerable areas in railway track. A comprehensive approach was developed for studying the reliability of fatigue crack initiation of railroad bolt hole under random axle loads and random material properties. The operation condition was also considered as stochastic variables. In order to obtain the comprehensive probability model of fatigue crack initiation life prediction in railroad bolt hole, we used FEM, response surface method (RSM), and reliability analysis. Combined energy-density based and critical plane based fatigue concept is used for the fatigue crack prediction. The dynamic loads were calculated according to the axle load, speed, and track properties. The results show that axle load is most sensitive parameter compared to Poisson’s ratio in fatigue crack initiation life. Also, the reliability index decreases slowly due to high cycle fatigue regime in this area.

Performance Complexity Measurement of Tightening Equipment Based on Kolmogorov Entropy

The performance of the tightening equipment will decline with the working process in manufacturing system. The main manifestations are the randomness and discretization degree increasing of the tightening performance. To evaluate the degradation tendency of the tightening performance accurately, a complexity measurement approach based on Kolmogorov entropy is presented. At first, the states of performance index are divided for calibrating the discrete degree. Then the complexity measurement model based on Kolmogorov entropy is built. The model describes the performance degradation tendency of tightening equipment quantitatively. At last, a study case is applied for verifying the efficiency and validity of the approach. The research achievement shows that the presented complexity measurement can effectively evaluate the degradation tendency of the tightening equipment. It can provide theoretical basis for preventive maintenance and life prediction of equipment.

Advanced Numerical and Analytical Methods for Assessing Concrete Sewers and Their Remaining Service Life

Pipelines are extensively used engineering structures which convey fluid from one place to another. Most of the time, pipelines are placed underground and are encumbered by soil weight and traffic loads. Corrosion of pipe material is the most common form of pipeline deterioration and should be considered in both the strength and serviceability analysis of pipes. The study in this research focuses on concrete pipes in sewage systems (concrete sewers). This research firstly investigates how to involve the effect of corrosion as a time dependent process of deterioration in the structural and failure analysis of this type of pipe. Then three probabilistic time dependent reliability analysis methods including the first passage probability theory, the gamma distributed degradation model and the Monte Carlo simulation technique are discussed and developed. Sensitivity analysis indexes which can be used to identify the most important parameters that affect pipe failure are also discussed. The reliability analysis methods developed in this paper contribute as rational tools for decision makers with regard to the strengthening and rehabilitation of existing pipelines. The results can be used to obtain a cost-effective strategy for the management of the sewer system.

Substantial Fatigue Similarity of a New Small-Scale Test Rig to Actual Wheel-Rail System

The substantial similarity of fatigue mechanism in a new test rig for rolling contact fatigue (RCF) has been investigated. A new reduced-scale test rig is designed to perform controlled RCF tests in wheel-rail materials. The fatigue mechanism of the rig is evaluated in this study using a combined finite element-fatigue prediction approach. The influences of loading conditions on fatigue crack initiation have been studied. Furthermore, the effects of some artificial defects (squat-shape) on fatigue lives are examined. To simulate the vehicle-track interaction by means of the test rig, a threedimensional finite element (FE) model is built up. The nonlinear material behaviour of the rail steel is modelled in the contact interface. The results of FE simulations are combined with the critical plane concept to determine the material points with the greatest possibility of fatigue failure. Based on the stress-strain responses, by employing of previously postulated criteria for fatigue crack initiation (plastic shakedown and ratchetting), fatigue life analysis is carried out. The results are reported for various loading conditions and different defect sizes. Afterward, the cyclic mechanism of the test rig is evaluated from the operational viewpoint. The results of fatigue life predictions are compared with the expected number of cycles of the test rig by its cyclic nature. Finally, the estimative duration of the experiments until fatigue crack initiation is roughly determined.

Residual Life Prediction for a System Subject to Condition Monitoring and Two Failure Modes

In this paper, we investigate the residual life prediction problem for a partially observable system subject to two failure modes, namely a catastrophic failure and a failure due to the system degradation. The system is subject to condition monitoring and the degradation process is described by a hidden Markov model with unknown parameters. The parameter estimation procedure based on an EM algorithm is developed and the formulas for the conditional reliability function and the mean residual life are derived, illustrated by a numerical example.

Methods for Better Assessment of Fatigue and Deterioration in Bridges and Other Steel or Concrete Constructions

Large metal and concrete structures suffer by various kinds of deterioration, and accurate prediction of the remaining life is important. This paper informs about two methods for its assessment. One method, suitable for steel bridges and other constructions exposed to fatigue, monitors the loads and damage accumulation using information systems for the operation and the finite element model of the construction. In addition to the operation load, the dead weight of the construction and thermal stresses can be included into the model. The second method is suitable for concrete bridges and other structures, which suffer by carbonatation and other degradation processes, driven by diffusion. The diffusion constant, important for the prediction of future development, can be determined from the depth-profile of pH, obtained by pH measurement at various depths. Comparison with measurements on real objects illustrates the suitability of both methods.

Increasing Profitability Supported by Innovative Methods and Designing Monitoring Software in Condition-Based Maintenance: A Case Study

In the present article, a new method has been developed to enhance the application of equipment monitoring, which in turn results in improving condition-based maintenance economic impact in an automobile parts manufacturing factory. This study also describes how an effective software with a simple database can be utilized to achieve cost-effective improvements in maintenance performance. The most important results of this project are indicated here: 1. 63% reduction in direct and indirect maintenance costs. 2. Creating a proper database to analyse failures. 3. Creating a method to control system performance and develop it to similar systems. 4. Designing a software to analyse database and consequently create technical knowledge to face unusual condition of the system. Moreover, the results of this study have shown that the concept and philosophy of maintenance has not been understood in most Iranian industries. Thus, more investment is strongly required to improve maintenance conditions.

The Effect of Maximum Strain on Fatigue Life Prediction for Natural Rubber Material

Fatigue life prediction and evaluation are the key technologies to assure the safety and reliability of automotive rubber components. The objective of this study is to develop the fatigue analysis process for vulcanized rubber components, which is applicable to predict fatigue life at initial product design step. Fatigue life prediction methodology of vulcanized natural rubber was proposed by incorporating the finite element analysis and fatigue damage parameter of maximum strain appearing at the critical location determined from fatigue test. In order to develop an appropriate fatigue damage parameter of the rubber material, a series of displacement controlled fatigue test was conducted using threedimensional dumbbell specimen with different levels of mean displacement. It was shown that the maximum strain was a proper damage parameter, taking the mean displacement effects into account. Nonlinear finite element analyses of three-dimensional dumbbell specimens were performed based on a hyper-elastic material model determined from the uni-axial tension, equi-biaxial tension and planar test. Fatigue analysis procedure employed in this study could be used approximately for the fatigue design.

Remaining Useful Life Prediction Using Elliptical Basis Function Network and Markov Chain

This paper presents a novel method for remaining useful life prediction using the Elliptical Basis Function (EBF) network and a Markov chain. The EBF structure is trained by a modified Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm in order to take into account the missing covariate set. No explicit extrapolation is needed for internal covariates while a Markov chain is constructed to represent the evolution of external covariates in the study. The estimated external and the unknown internal covariates constitute an incomplete covariate set which are then used and analyzed by the EBF network to provide survival information of the asset. It is shown in the case study that the method slightly underestimates the remaining useful life of an asset which is a desirable result for early maintenance decision and resource planning.