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Olsen, Kirk WilliamFatigue Crack Growth Analyses and Experimental Verification of Aerospace Threaded Fasteners
Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, 2004, Mechanical Engineering
Because fatigue crack growth in a threaded fastener can cause the loss of an aircraft, damage tolerant analyses are required. Therefore, aerospace designers must be able to perform accurate crack growth analyses on fasteners. However, threaded fasteners are difficult to analyze and fastener fatigue crack growth data is scant, especially for non-dimensionalized crack depths of (a/d) < 0.1. The objective of this research is to determine the stress intensity multiplication factor (Y), as a function of a/d, in the threads of a nut loaded, aerospace, roll-threaded bolt under tensile fatigue conditions as a/d approaches zero. Y(a/d) can then be used to improve the accuracy of fatigue crack growth life estimations. The research objectives were achieved through bolt material characterization, cyclic testing, and numeric modeling. X-ray diffraction was used to determine the residual stress within the thread root of the test bolts. Unflawed and flawed aerospace bolts were fatigue tested at a maximum stress (S) ranging from the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) to the surface endurance limit of the test bolt and loading ratios of 0.1 < R < 0.9. The following data was collected: cycles to failure (Nf), fracture surface striation spacing, and crack front shape. The numeric studies accounted for residual stress. The fracture analysis code, FRANC3D, was used because it could predict crack front shape and stress intensity factor (K). The thread root, residual compressive stress reached 65% of the material UTS. The S- Nf plots showed test bolt fatigue strength decreased as R decreased and 10% reduction in allowable fatigue stress due to flaws. The shape of the crack front in the unflawed and flawed stainless steel, test bolts were different and both changed as the crack grew. The developed numeric models also predicted a changing crack front and the stress intensity factor. By curve fitting the numeric and experimental data, a new Y(a/d) solution was determined. The use of this Y(a/d) solution produces conservative crack growth life estimates. Based on test bolt fatigue data, greater accuracy may be possible with this Y(a/d) solution.


Clare Rimnac (Advisor)


Fatigue Crack Growth; Aerospace Threaded Fasteners; FRANC3D; Bolts