curve, which implicitly considers the effects of the localized notch and,
furthermore, is valid for a certain class of weld shapes and materials.
Regarding the hot spot stress, experimental and analytical procedures
have been derived for its determination by extrapolating the structural
stress outside the localized notchaffected zone to the weld toe. The
approach was firstly applied in the 1970's to tubular joints of offshore
structures, where the increase in structural stress can be very high due to
local bending of the tubular shell close to the connection between brace
and chord (AlmarN~ess, 1985).
The hot spot stress approach was later applied also to welded plate
structures (Radaj, 1990)being typical for FPSO's (Floating Production,
Storage and Offloading Units) and ships. Here, three different types of
hot spots at weld toes can be identified which are exemplified in Fig. 1:
a) at the weld toe on the plate surface at an ending attachment
b) at the weld toe around the plate edge of an ending attachment
c) along the wdd of an attached plate (weld toes on both the plate and
attachment surface).
ABSTRACT
As part of the Joint Industry Project 'FPSO Fatigue and Fracture Capacity', a Special Task Group with nine participants performed investigations regarding finite element (FE) modelling and
analysis of typical structural details in FPSO's (Floating Production, Storage and Offioading Units) as well as in ships. The purpose
of this special effort was to develop recommendations on appropriate hot spot stress methods and SN data for fatigue strength
design. In total, five details with different characteristics, from both
geometry and fatigue loading perspectives, were selected for which
stress measurements and fatigue tests are available. Various finite
element models were developed by participants, using different
types and sizes of elements, modelling and stress evaluation techniques as well as FE programs. Comparisons between the analysis
results and measured stresses near the weld toes allow conclusions
to be drawn. Three different stress extrapolation techniques for
predicting hot spot stresses at the weld toes were investigated. The
resulting hot spot stresses, together with the estimated fatigue lives,
are compared against the existing design SN curves published by
the International Institute of Welding (IIW). It was concluded that
the hot spot stresses predicted using the three stress extrapolation
techniques, where the element sizes and stress evaluation points are
determined by the plate thickness, can be used with the current
design SN curves. Most significantly, one of the recommended
methods requires no stress extrapolation, which is considered an
attractive and practical alternative to the existing practices developed by class societies. This method will provide significant saving
on analysis efforts during design.
KEY WORDS: Stress analysis, hot spot stress, finite element method,
fatigue, welded joint
For weld toes on a plate or shell surface, i. e. types a) and c), the
structural stress can be defined as the sum of the axial and bending part
of the stress distribution in the thickness direction (Niemi, 1993). However, a unique definition of the structural stress at plate edges (weld toe
type b), which can be used for fatigue strength assessment, is not possible. Therefore, extrapolation of edge stresses is currently regarded as
the only practical way for the determination of hot spot stresses.
The hot spot stress approach has often been criticized. Especially the
problem of defining appropriate reference points for the stress
extrapolation created many debates. Several codes and guidelines in
various industrial sectors recommend different procedures for the
INTRODUCTION
The hot spot stress approach for the fatigue strength assessment of
welded joints is based on the assumption that the local stress increase at
the weld toe can be subdivided into two parts, one governed by the
structural (i. e. macrogeometrical) stress increase and the other created
by the localized notch stress due to the weld toe itself which is restricted
to a region of approx. 2  3 mm around the toe. Furthermore, it is
assumed that the fatigue assessment can be based on the first part, i. e.
the structural stress at the 'hot spot', together with an appropriate SN
89
d)Oetail 5
c) Detail 4
90
In most cases, the element length and breadths close to the weld toe
were chosen as t x t (t = plate thickness). Fig. 4 exemplifies the modelling by Detail 1. Smaller element dimensions (typically t/2 or t/4) were
selected for meshes indicated by 2Solid2Ow(f) and 4Solid8w. Additional
remarks on specific modelling aspects are given in the following.
Shell
Model
Detail 1
Shell elements
t welds)
F/4
= 98
kN
  
f /
.o0e,
\ I\1\
iii?i
w = attachmentwidth
Symmetry
Support
4Solid8w
8noded solid element, normally used with four layers over the plate
thickness. The welds are included in the models (suffix w).
Solidpw
a) D o u b l i n g F' "
rigid links or p l a t e
elements
8noded shell element without weld representation. In case of offsets, either rigid links (suffix r) or a plate connection between the midplanes of the plates (suffix p) are arranged.
b) H o p p e r C o r n e r
Shell8w
8noded shell model with simplified weld representation by arranging a reinforced plate strip at the foot of the attached plate, having the
thickness increased by one leg length and extending to the actual weld
toe position. The endings are sloped, meeting the weld toe position on
the parent plate.
One specific problem of Detail 4 (Hopper Corner Model) is the offset between the intersecting horizontal, vertical and sloped plate at the
critical point. This is automatically accounted for in solid models, while
it is considered only in part of the shell models by a plate connection
between the two intersection points, see Fig. 5b. These models are
denoted by Shell8p and Shell4p. An additional study showed that this
offset reduces the stresses in the actual structure by up to 10 % in the
vicinity of the hot spot. For Detail 5 (Load Carrying Fillet Welds),
again one shell model contains the weld in simplified form (Shell8w).
The stresses were evaluated with two objectives, (a) to compare the
computed stresses with measured values in the area close to the hot spot
and (b) to extrapolate the stresses to the hot spot using common techniques, from which the following three were selected:
1. Linear extrapolation over reference points 0.5 and 1.5 x plate
thickness t away from the hot spot (technique preferred by most
classification societies)
2. Linear extrapolation over reference points 0.4 and 1.0 x plate
thickness t away from the hot spot (technique recommended by the
International Institute of Welding, see Hobbacher, 1996)
3. No extrapolation, but considering the stress value at 0.5 x plate
thickness t as the relevant hot spot stress
Typical stress evaluation paths are indicated in Fig. 3. First comparison of the analysis results showed that a better agreement between the
results from the different models and from the measurements is
achieved if the distance of the readoutpoints (ROP's) is measured to
the hot spot as modelled, i. e. to the weld toe if the weld is modelled or,
else, to the structural intersection point, if the weld is not modelled. The
same applies to the point where the stress is extrapolated to. The justification for this procedure, which affects the results for sheU models
without weld representation, is that the stress at the fictitious weld toe
position is in many cases too low due to the reduced stiffness compared
to the real structure. This means on the other hand, that the proposed
extrapolation to the structural intersection point may yield conservative
results  a tribute to simple modelling.
A great variability exists in selecting the type of stress and in evaluating the stresses at the desired locations. The selected details do not
show significant differences between principal and directional stress
(perpendicular to the weld toe) so that the type of stress does not affect
the results here. Either nodal stresses or element stresses are evaluated,
the latter normally extrapolated linearly from the integration points to
the plate surface or edge and in some cases averaged to obtain a midside stress. Particularly for 4noded shell elements, different results
were obtained depending on the shape function and the consideration of
220
220
~Experiment
,,I ,Shell4
200
200
"~ .Shell8
 .0 .Shell8w
~180
 ~  .Shell8
~180
 I .Shell4
~160
16o
~140
E14c
~100
80
 "~ .Shell8
 ,o .Shell4(css)
 (' .SheU4
1Solid20w
~2Solid2Ow(fl
~ 10

8C
10
20
30
40
50
60
The results of the shell models are fairly scattered. Looking again at
the location 10 mm away from the hot spot, three results are relatively
close to the measured ones, while four others are remarkably lower. The
reason for this could not be clarified as the stress evaluation points and
methods are quite different (at nodes, at element centres, and extrapolated from integration points to the element edge).
The general trend, that solid elements overestimate and shell elements underestimate the stresses, has been observed also in other studies (e. g. ISSC, 2000). Poutiainen and Niemi (2000) showed that this
happens in those cases where a web is arranged below the plate with a
longitudinal attachment. In order to limit the underestimation of
stresses, the inplane bending behaviour of plates should be improved
(the 4noded elements showing the lowest results have only constant
stress state (css)) and the element width might have to be restricted.
Niemi (1995) proposed the 'attachment width' (thickness of attachment
plus twice weld leg length) for the breadth over the two elements in
front of the weld. Furthermore, the consideration of the relatively thick
weld slightly increases the stress (by approx. 2 %).
,
3.2
When looking at the hot spot stresses extrapolated over 0.5t/1.5t, the
scatter is moderate within 10 % (152 MPa 15 MPa). It increases if
the extrapolation is performed over 0.4t/1.0t. This is obviously a result
of the relatively coarse meshes, matching better the first extrapolation
technique.
3.2
3.0
3.0
2.8
2.8
' !~Experiment
1Solid20w
  ]   S olidpw
: 4Solid8w
0 4Solid8w
~a~. 2Solid20w
(n 2'6
~, 2.6
2.4
~2.4
~ 2.2
02.2
~2.0
~2.0
Jk. 2Solid20w
= 2Solid2Ow(f)
 .0 .Shell8w
 .t.. .Shell4
~1.8
~ 1.4
1.4
1.2
1.2
1.(1
1.0
0.8
0.8
 I,Shell4
10
20
25
30
2.2
JO'Experiment
E~ Solidpw
i~
Ie"
I
2.0
2.0
~1.8
~)1.8
'
I::lZ
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\ . '.
: ~'~
~ ~,
~t~;.=
 ,,=.,w,,~
1.2
1.0
 . ,~ ,~j
)< .Shell4r
.)K 'Shell8r
1.2

1.0
....
5 ....
10 . . . .
15 . . . .
20
25
93
30
35
40
(ShellSw).
(>Experiment
 I ,Shell4
 I ,Shell4
 "~. ,ShellSp
 SK ,Shell8
 X .Shell4p
 & .ShellSp
. .o. ,Shell4(css)
 .P ,Shell4
1Solid20w
.El. Solidpw
4SolidSw
~ k   2 Solid20w
=2Solid2Ow(f)
4,
2.6
2.4
2.2
2.0
r
",
~.1.6
"'.
~ 1.4
"'~:]~1~
~ 1.2
1.0
~
0.8
0
15
20
i,,
25
30
~xperlmenl
 + ,SheU4
I ,Shell4
~  .Shell8
2.8
2.6
~,Shell8
.o. ,Shell4(css)
 N.,, 'Shell4
\\~ \ \,1
<>" .Shell8w
~',~L~
@= 4 SolidSw
~4Solid8w
 ' = "  2 S olid2Ow(t)

t:
1.0
" ,
~
i
0.8
5
u2. ~. m.
ISolid20w
'0" S olidpw
A2Solid20w
10
15
20
25
30
Available fatigue test data, i. e. fatigue lives obtained for given load
levels, can be used to verify if the computed hot spot stresses correlate
with standard SN curves. Fatigue test data are available for details 2, 4
and 5 (Kim, 1999) and also for detail 3 (Yagi et al., 1991). In addition,
models similar to details 1 and 3 have been analysed and tested by HHI,
which are included in the present analysis as Model 1 (Longitudinal
Gussets) and Model 3 (TwoSided Doubling Plates). It should be noted
that only tests with high Rratio are taken from the data by Kim (1999).
The verification is performed on the basis of lowerbound hot spot
SCF's from the analysis. In this way the comparison with standard SN
curves is conservative. As discussed before, the results from the fine
meshes with higherorder solid elements as well as those from the 4noded shells with constant inplane stress state have been excluded
which means that SN curves derived are associated to analyses with
certain modelling and extrapolation techniques.
The lowest SCFvalues are mostly determined by solid models using
8noded elements with dimensions t/4 x t/4 x t/4. The additional models
1 and 3 were also analysed by this technique and also by shell elements.
It is interesting to note that the results from the very fine solid models (2Solid2Ow(f)), extrapolated over 0.4t and 1.0t, fit quite well with
the other values extrapolated over 0.5t/1.5t. However, the results
obtained from the pelements are below these values.
The SN plot in Fig. 11 shows the fatigue lives in relation to the hot
spot stress range for the first extrapolation technique, i.e. nominal
stress range multiplied by the lowest calculated hot spot SCF's extrapolated over 0.5t/1.5t. The details 4 and 5 show generally higher lives
which are assumed to be due to beneficial residual stresses found in
detail 5 and to a failure criterion defined by a relatively long crack.
Furthermore, the results for model 1 and details 2  3 are closer to the
lower bound due to the fact that only the worst of four competing hot
spots in the models are represented.
In addition, the SN curve FAT 100, characterized by a slope exponent m = 3 and a reference value of 100 MPa at 2 million cycles, is
plotted in the figure, representing the lower bound of all results. The
same evaluation for the other extrapolation techniques, which are omitted here, shows also FAT 100 as lower bound for the results extrapolated over 0.4t/1.0t, while FAT 90 is the lower bound for the results at
0.5t. It should be noted that all test data used here is related to joints
with plate thickness ranging from 10 to 15 mm.
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S F O R H O T S P O T STRESS ANALYSIS
Based on the results of the roundrobin finite element analysis
described above, the following recommendations can be given.
Hot spot stresses are calculated assuming linear material behaviour
using an idealised structural model with no fabricationrelated mis
lOOO
I00.
10
1.0E+04
1.0E+05
1.0E+06
1.0E+07
N (cycles)
Figure 11. Fatigue test results vs. hot spot stress range based on lowest calculated SCF's extrapolated over 0.5t/1.5t
95
Element Sizes:
For both types of modelling, the dimensions of the first two or three
elements in front of the weld toe should be chosen as follows:
Weld toes of types a) and c): The dement length should correspond
to the plate thickness. In the transverse direction, the plate thickness
may be chosen again for the breadth of the plate elements. However, the
breadth over the first two elements should not exceed the 'attachment
width', i. e. the thickness of the attached plate plus 2 x the weld leg
length (in case of type c: the thickness of the web plate behind plus 2 x
weld leg length). This attachment width may also be taken for the width
of solid elements in front of the weld toe, see Fig. 3. Still open is the
question how the element size has to be defined e. g. for bulb profiles.
Furthermore it should be noted that a much finer mesh is needed in case
of 8node solid elements.
Weld toes of type b): For weld toes at the plate edge, the plate thickness is principally not a suitable parameter to determine the element
size and stress extrapolation points. A further study (Fricke and Bogdan, 2001) shows that fixed values can better be used to describe the
stress increase at inplane notches. From this study and from details 2
and 5 of the current study it can be concluded that higherorder elements with element lengths of 10 x 10 mm together with a linear extrapolation over the midside points yield conservative results. Therefore,
it is recommended to use element dimensions fixed to these dimensions.
Stress Evaluation:
The structural stress components on the plate surface should be
evaluated along the paths shown in Fig. 3 and extrapolated to the hot
spot. Recommended are stress evaluation points located at distances
0,5 t and 1.5 t away from the hot spot modelled, where t is the plate
thickness at the weld toe. If the weld is not modelled, the hot spot is the
structural intersection point modelled. In case of type b) weld toes,
fixed distances of 5 mm and 15 mm are recommended.
If a relatively coarse mesh with the element sizes mentioned above is
chosen, the stresses may be evaluated as follows:
* In case of plate or shell elements the surface stress may be evaluated at the corresponding midside points (i. e. taking the mean
value of the element stresses at the adjacent corners). At weld toes
of type c) the stress may be averaged over the width of the attachment behind by taking the surface stress in the element centres as
also shown in Fig. 3.
* In case of solid elements the stress may be extrapolated linearly to
the surface centre (usually after averaging the stress components at
each of the the two layers of integration points)
At weld toes of type b), only part of plate bending obviously needs
to be considered. Further investigations are considered to be necessary as such cases are outside the scope of the present analysis.
REFERENCES
AlmarN~ss, A. (1985). "Fatigue Handbook  Offshore Structures."
Tapir Publishers, Trondheim.
Fricke, W. and Bogdan, R. (2001). "Determination of Hot Spot Stress in
Structural Members with InPlane Notches Using a Coarse Mesh."
IIWDoc. XIII 187001, International Institute of Welding.
Hobbacher, A. (1996). "Fatigue Design of Welded Joints and Components." Abington Publishing, Cambridge (UK).
ISSC (1997). "Report of Committee ILl  QuasiStatic Response."
Proc. of 13th Int. Ship and Offshore Structures Congress (Ed. T.
Moan and S. Berge), Elsevier Science.
ISSC (2000). "Report of Committee II.1  QuasiStatic Response."
Proc. of 14th Int. Ship and Offshore Structures Congress (Ed. H.
Ohtsubo and Y. Sumi), Elsevier Science.
Iwahashi, Y. et al. (1998). "Finite Element Comparative Study of Ship
Structural Detail." Marine Structures 11, pp. 127  139.
Kim, W. S (1999): Fatigue Tests of Typical Welded Joints. Hyundai
Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. Ulsan (unpublished).
Lotsberg, I. (2001). "Overview of the FPSO  Fatigue Capacity JIP."
Proc. of OMAE'01, ASME, Rio de Janeiro.
Maddox, S. (2001). "Recommended Design SN Curves for Fatigue
Assessment of FPSOs. ISOPE' 2001, Stavanger.
Niemi, E. (1993). "Recommendations Concerning Stress Determination
for Fatigue Analysis of Welded Components". IISIIW122193,
Abington Publishing, Cambridge (UK).
Poutiainen, I. and Niemi, E. (2000). The Determination of Hot Spot
Stress in Gusset Structures Using a Coarse Element Mesh. IIWDoc.
XIII 18202000, International Institute of Welding.
Radaj, D. (1990). Design and Analysis of Fatigue Resistant Structures.
Abington Publishing, Cambridge (UK).
Yagi, J.; Machida, S.; Tomita, Y.; Matoba, M.; Kawasaki, T. (1991).
"Definition of Hot Spot Stresses in Welded Plate Type Structure for
Fatigue Assessment." IIWDocument IIWXIII141491, International Institute of Welding.
Fatigue Assessment:
If the hot spot stress is evaluated by linear extrapolation in the way
described, the fatigue strength may be assessed with a usual design SN
curve based on hotspot stresses (e. g. Hobbacher, 1996).
Alternatively a simplified approach without any stress extrapolation
seems to be reasonable where the stress is taken at the location 0.5 t
(resp. 5 mm for weld toes of type b) away from the hot spot modelled
and assessed with a design SN curve reduced by one fatigue class.
If the hot spot stress is evaluated from strain measurements or from
refined models with improved finite elements, a stress extrapolation
over reference points at distances 0.4 and 1.0 x plate thickness or a
quadratic extrapolation is recommended in line with Hobbacher (1996).
CONCLUDING REMARKS
The present study has been used in the JIP together with other data
to derive a design hot spot SN curve (Maddox, 2001). Here, a lower
SN curve was found, which might be due to additional test data and in
particular to the inclusion of larger plate thickness (up to 25 ram).
96
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