By understanding the ways that materials within a design can experience stress at grain boundaries, and the subsequent dislocation and damage nucleation, we can begin to improve the ductility of materials, and therefore the overall product life.
Developing new methods of strengthening and reinforcing designs requires the understanding of these processes. SOLIDWORKS Simulation works effectively to incorporate loading and stress scenarios for designs and can save vast amounts of time and resources over traditional prototype testing
Determining fatigue requires a varied load allowance to be repeated at a level that doesn’t exceed the ultimate load decided upon. The level of fatigue that a product or design will suffer is determined in three stages:
- Initiation – Predictions are made on the amount of stress to specific concentrated areas
- Propagation – The driving force of fatigue and the material’s ability to resist fracture is calculated
- Final fracture – The fatigue and driving force of the structure reaches the point that a single load would cause the structure to fracture
While the final two stages of this process are just as important to the overall design structure, the initiation stage of mechanical fatigue determination is the most crucial.
Real world applications
Let’s take a look at how SOLIDWORKS Simulation would work in relation to testing a train for mechanical fatigue. At a particular point in the journey, the software will incorporate various strains and stresses presented to the carriage.
We want to address and simulate the following; environmental effects such as wind, rain or snow, the weight of passengers and the angle of lean and pressure on the structure of the train, and the general wear that would accompany a train running along the metal tracks.
Normally, these processes would have to be addressed simultaneously, with the total sum force of the action being taken into account at a specific point. However, with simulation and visualisation software, you’re not only able to separate each of these outside forces, but collect the data in summary and simulate these stresses and events at any point in the lifecycle of the product.
By looking at the combination of these processes, you’re able to determine what the structural and mechanical limits of the train would be, and decide when appropriate maintenance or replacement parts will need to be implemented into the design. (source: http://blogs.solidworks.com/apac/solidworks-blog)
When testing the mechanical fatigue of a structure, simulation software provides an intuitive, intelligent design process. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about SOLIDWORKS Simulation, or download one of our whitepapers to read more about what CAD can do for you.
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