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Fatigue strength of laser beam welded automotive components made of thin steel sheets considering size effects

: Baumgartner, J.; Bruder, T.; Hanselka, H.


International journal of fatigue 34 (2012), No.1, pp.65-75
ISSN: 0142-1123
Journal Article
Fraunhofer LBF ()

The applicability of and the quality of assessment using the nominal stress, structural stress and notch stress approaches for calculating the fatigue strength of laserbeam welded components made of thin steel sheets has been investigated. For this purpose, the fatigue lives of a longitudinal carrier, an injector and two tube-flange specimens have been determined by tests under constant amplitude loading. Fatigue cracks initiated at sharp root notches on all of these components. While the nominal stress is derived by theory of structural mechanics, the determination of structural and notch stresses is performed using 3D finite element models and solid elements. The structural stress is derived by an extrapolation of surface stress to the fatigue critical notch and the notch stresses by rounding the sharp root notch with a reference radius of rref = 0.05 mm. For all of the concepts used, the endurable stresses have been compared to the design SN-curves recommended by the International Institute of Welding (IIW). On comparing the quality of assessment of the different concepts, the notch stress approach shows the highest scatter. The highest endurable notch stresses occur in specimens with crack initiation at weld ends. These specimens have a very small highly loaded weld length. The lowest endurable stresses are determined for specimens with a long, equally loaded weld. The reason for these findings can be explained by statistical size effects. For an improved fatigue assessment, an easily applicable method is introduced, which takes into account the highly stressed weld length.