Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
Research article
11 Feb 2013
Research article |  | 11 Feb 2013

Sub-modeling approach for obtaining structural stress histories during dynamic analysis

T. T. Rantalainen, A. M. Mikkola, and T. J. Björk

Abstract. Modern machine structures are often fabricated by welding. From a fatigue point of view, the structural details and especially, the welded details are the most prone to fatigue damage and failure. Design against fatigue requires information on the fatigue resistance of a structure's critical details and the stress loads that act on each detail. Even though, dynamic simulation of flexible bodies is already current method for analyzing structures, obtaining the stress history of a structural detail during dynamic simulation is a challenging task; especially when the detail has a complex geometry. In particular, analyzing the stress history of every structural detail within a single finite element model can be overwhelming since the amount of nodal degrees of freedom needed in the model may require an impractical amount of computational effort. The purpose of computer simulation is to reduce amount of prototypes and speed up the product development process. Also, to take operator influence into account, real time models, i.e. simplified and computationally efficient models are required. This in turn, requires stress computation to be efficient if it will be performed during dynamic simulation. The research looks back at the theoretical background of multibody simulation and finite element method to find suitable parts to form a new approach for efficient stress calculation. This study proposes that, the problem of stress calculation during dynamic simulation can be greatly simplified by using a combination of Floating Frame of Reference Formulation with modal superposition and a sub-modeling approach. In practice, the proposed approach can be used to efficiently generate the relevant fatigue assessment stress history for a structural detail during or after dynamic simulation. Proposed approach is demonstrated in practice using one numerical example. Even though, examples are simplified the results show that approach is applicable and can be used as proposed.