A toughness based deformation limit for X- and K-joints under brace axial tension
This study reports a deformation limit for the initiation of ductile fracture failure in fatigue-cracked circular hollow section (CHS) X- and K-joints subjected to brace axial tension. The proposed approach sets the deformation limit as the numerically computed crack driving force in a fatigue crack at the hot-spot location in the tubular joint reaches the material fracture toughness measured from standard fracture specimens. The calibration of the numerical procedure predicates on reported numerical computations on the crack driving force and previously published verification study against large-scale CHS X-joints with fatigue generated surface cracks. The development of the deformation limit includes a normalization procedure, which covers a wide range of the geometric parameters and material toughness levels. The lower-bound deformation limits thus developed follow a linear relationship with respect to the crack-depth ratio for both X- and K-joints. Comparison of the predicated deformation limit against experimental on cracked tubular X- and Kjoints demonstrates the conservative nature of the proposed deformation limit. The proposed deformation limit, when extrapolated to a zero crack depth, provides an estimate on the deformation limits for intact X- and K-joints under brace axial loads.