PurposeMany failures of aircraft structural components in the past were attributed to cracks emanating from joints, which are identified as the most critical locations. In cases using the recently emerging structural health monitoring (SHM) systems, continuous monitoring needs be carried out at many major joint locations. The purpose of this paper is to develop computational techniques for fastener joints, including the possible change in contact conditions and change in boundary values at the pin-hole interface. These techniques are used for the prognostic analysis of pin-loaded lug joints with rigid/elastic pin subjected to fatigue loading by estimating the residual life of the component at any given instance to assist the SHM systems.Design/methodology/approachStraight attachment lug joints with rigid/elastic push-fit pin and smooth pin-hole interface are modelled in commercial software MSC PATRAN. In each case, the joint is subjected to various types of fatigue load cycles, and for each type of cycles, the critical locations and the stress concentrations are identified from the stress analysis. Later, for each type of fatigue cycle, the number of cycles required for crack initiation is estimated. A small crack is located at these points, and the number of cycles required to reach the critical length when unstable crack growth occurs is also computed. The novelty in the analysis of life estimations is that it takes into account possible changes in contact conditions at the pin-hole interface during load reversals in fatigue loading.FindingsThe current work on fastener joints brings out the way the load reversals leading to change in contact conditions (consequently changing boundary conditions) are handled during fatigue loading on a push-fit joint. The novel findings are the effect of the size of the hole/lug width, elasticity of the material and the type of load cycles on the fatigue crack initiation and crack growth life. Given other parameters constant, bigger size hole and stiffer pin lead to lesser life. Under load controlled fatigue cycles, pull load contributes to significant part of fatigue life.Originality/valueThe analysis considers the changing contact conditions at the pin-hole interface during fatigue cycles with positive and negative stress ratios. The results presented in this paper are of value to the life prediction of structural joints for various load cycles (for both pull-pull cases, in which the load ratios are positive, and pull-push cycles, where the load ratios are negative). The prognostic data can be used to effectively monitor the critical locations with joints for SHM applications.
International Journal of Structural Integrity – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 12, 2017
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