Why Should You Simulate Fatigue?

October 8, 2012

The Fatigue Module, an add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module and the COMSOL Multiphysics® software, can be used to perform structural fatigue life computations for both strain-based and stressed-based fatigue. In this blog post, we discuss some of the potential application areas and benefits of fatigue testing.

Expedite the Fatigue Testing Process

At Veryst Engineering, a COMSOL Certified Consultant, engineers such as Stuart Brown have a lot of experience with modeling structural mechanics applications. When asked why we should simulate fatigue, Brown had a simple answer: “Your average doctoral student does not have the time to wait for fatigue testing,” — particularly for the millions of cycles that need to be run in stressed-based fatigue.

Side-by-side images showing low-cycle fatigue in a cylinder with a hole.

Companies, of course, still run fatigue tests, specifically to verify their simulations. Yet another reason for fatigue simulation mentioned by Brown is that manufacturers often don’t have time to wait for full-scale experimental fatigue tests to be performed. Products often need to be deployed immediately, and for a variety of reasons, depending on their use.

Simulate Fatigue for Reliable Designs

Although regulatory constraints still require testing, the design cycle does not have the luxury of waiting around for ten years of testing to see when devices should be replaced before failure. Instead, design decisions have to be made with the extensive assistance of simulation. A good example of fatigue analysis is this model of low-cycle fatigue in a cylinder with a hole. Because the stress levels do not tell the entire story in this scenario, the structural damage due to repeated loading and unloading must be analyzed.

Further Reading

Learn more about modeling fatigue on the COMSOL Blog:

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