PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to estimate the acceptable defect size amax after needle peening (NP) and predict the fatigue limit improvement through the use of NP for an austenitic stainless steel welded joint containing an artificial semi-circular slit on a weld toe.Design/methodology/approachResidual stress and hardness distribution were measured. Microstructures around the weld toe were observed to clarify the cause for the change in hardness after NP. Finite element method analysis was used to analyze the change in the stress concentration following NP. Fracture mechanics was used to evaluate amax after NP. The fatigue limits before and after NP were predicted by determining amax for several levels of stress amplitude.FindingsThe tensile residual stress induced at the surface of the weld toe prior to NP changed to a compressive residual stress after NP. The residual stress near the surface layer after NP exceeded the yield stress prior to NP due to the increase in yield stress as a result of work hardening as well as the generation of a deformation-induced martensitic structure. The stress concentration was reduced due to the shape improvement caused by NP. The estimation value of amax after NP and the prediction results of fatigue limits were in good agreement with the fatigue test results.Practical implicationsThe proposed method is useful in improving the reliability of welded joints used in large steel structures, transportation equipments and industrial machines.Originality/valueFrom an engineering perspective, it is essential to estimate amax and the fatigue limit of welded joints with crack-like defects. However, it is unclear as to whether it is possible to predict amax and the effects of NP on the fatigue limit for stainless steel welded joints.
International Journal of Structural Integrity – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 5, 2018
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