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ISSN: 2167-7670
Advances in Automobile Engineering
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Development of the Linear Matching Method and its ’ Software Tool for the Design and Life Assessment of Mechanical Structures

Haofeng Chen*
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XJ, UK
*Corresponding Author : Haofeng Chen
Senior Lecturer
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XJ, UK
Tel: 07963566678
E-mail: [email protected]
Received August 17, 2013; Accepted August 27, 2013; Published August 30, 2013
Citation: Chen H (2013) Development of the Linear Matching Method and its’ Software Tool for the Design and Life Assessment of Mechanical Structures. Adv Automob Eng 1:e115. doi: 10.4172/2167-7670.1000e115
Copyright: © 2013 Chen H. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Abstract

The design of structural components that are subjected to high temperatures requires understanding the relationship between a range of possible failure modes and the history of temperature and mechanical loading. Traditionally this relationship has been made through the use of structural mechanics concepts, and expressed in terms of failure laws and rules that form the fabric of current design codes and life assessment methods. These codes and methods are usually based on results from linear elastic FE assessments, which produce too conservative solutions. An alternative detailed simulation allows the investigation of any type of load cycle, but inevitably involves significant computer effort for complex practical structures. For high temperature power plant, where the geometries are highly varied and the loading history may not be known in detail, simplified methods still dominate. In life assessment methods there is the further issue that available material data may be limited and the presence of cracks and welds needs to be taken into account.
New methodologies have been proposed to combine the convenience and efficiency of rule-based methods with the accuracy of detailed simulation techniques. These form the basis for the current development of the Linear Matching Method (LMM), and stem from explorations in the early 1990s of computational methods to provide highly accurate limit load solutions for problems of structural components containing cracks, as an input to life assessment methods. The basis of the LMM is through an idea of representing histories of stress and inelastic strain as the solution of a linear problem, where the linear moduli are allowed to vary both spatially and in time. The LMM has been formulated and implemented for various cyclic problems encountered in current structural integrity assessment methodologies, including shakedown and limit analysis [1], Ratchet Limit Analysis [2], Creep Rupture Analysis [3], Low Cycle Fatigue [4], Creep And Fatigue Interaction [5].
The LMM adopts the linear representation and applies it to structural problems on a well-defined theoretical basis. A sequence of linear problems is defined to give strain rate histories that give rise to equilibrium residual stress fields. Sequentially, the correct non-linear constitutive assumptions are imposed. The solution is achieved through minimization of a functional of the strain rate history. Expressed in this way, the method has the character of a non-linear programming method, with each step involving the solution of a linear problem that has most of the characteristics of the problem to be solved. Although the LMM has already been successfully applied to a wide range of practical problems, including the ratchet limit of cracked bodies [6], the shakedown and ratchet limits of rolling contacts [7], particulate metal matrix composites [8], and the creep fatigue damage assessment of welds [9], new developments and extensions in the LMM and its corresponding structural integrity assessment procedures have been carried out through a number of UK Nuclear EngD projects, in collaboration with many leading industries, including EDF energy, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.
The newest one of such EngD projects is sponsored by the EDF Energy and will start at the beginning of October 2013 for four years. The main aim of this EngD project is to transfer the LMM into a powerful tool to engineers with the responsibility for design and life assessment decisions on a regular basis. This will involve re-structuring the subroutines for multiple CPU solution and developing a plug-in for Abaqus CAE, on the basis of the existing LMM Abaqus plug-in framework, which uses the Python scripting language and the Abaqus CAE GUI toolkit. The developed plug-in will provide an intuitive and simple way to perform a LMM analysis. The data for the analysis is gathered through Abaqus CAE, which is a familiar environment for industrial engineers. The plug-in implements all of the functionality possible in the subroutines, and includes extensive error checking to ensure that only permissible combinations of options are used. The plug-in and subroutines are written so that the configuration of the subroutines for each analysis is performed automatically, thus making a LMM analysis more convenient and less prone to errors. The project will also consider various cyclic plasticity and creep material laws for practical engineering applications, and investigate convergence issues and formulate effective numerical schemes to enhance computational performance including efficiency and stability. The developed numerical techniques will be validated against existing experimental and analytical data provided by the sponsoring company.
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