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55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity

Stress Concentrations

Reference texts:
Megson,T.H.G. Aircraft structures for engineering students, 2007

Dowling, N. E. Mechanical Behaviour of Materials, 2012

Gere, J.M. and Timoshenko, S.P. Mechanics of Materials, 1994

Pilkey, W.D. and Pilkey, D.F. Peterson's Stress Concentration Factors, 2008

Introduction
The concept of stress raisers such as notches, holes or cracks is easy to imagine but the analytical treatment of the
effect of such features less so. It is, however, essential to be able to quantify the local stresses around features so
the influence of static and dynamic loading can be assessed during the design process. This section covers the basic
principles behind stress concentrations and how to evaluate them analytically.

Nominal stresses vs. point stresses


To consider the stresses locally to a point in a body we must first establish concepts of the Nominal Stress, S, across a
body and the variation in local Point Stress, σ, throughout the body. We can define these graphically:

If we consider an axially loaded


member as in the figure to the left
and then examine a small unit cell
(the shaded square), we note that
the local stress at the unit cell
remains constant along the axis x
and is equal to:

𝑃
𝜎" = 𝑆 =
𝑤𝑡
S is the nominal stress and σ the
local stress and in this case they are
equal.

Consider the same member with a


moment applied, as in the figure to
the left and examine a small unit cell
again. We note that now the local
stress at the unit cell varies along the
axis x and at its peak is equal to:
6𝑀
𝜎()* = -
𝑤 𝑡
In this case the nominal stress
across the bar is zero to satisfy the
equilibrium condition: ∑ 𝑀 = 0
55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity
Stress Concentrations

Saint-Venant's principle
The variation in local stresses was first noted by mathematician Barré de Saint-Venant. With respect to a load
concentrated by acting on a reduced boss at one end of a bar, the peak stress 𝜎()* close to the boss could be
several times that of the average or nominal stress 𝑆 = 𝑃1𝑏𝑡 considered at some distance. This peak stress reduces
with distance from the stress concentration and becomes approximately uniform at a distance equal to the width of
the bar, b.

We can generalise this statement to say that the stress at a cross section is given by 𝜎 = 𝐹1𝐴 provided that the cross
section is at a distance greater than b away from any concentrated load or geometric discontinuity, where b is the
largest lateral dimension of the bar. This principle applies to almost all linearly elastic bodies.

Importantly, as we approach the concentration the distribution of point stresses becomes a function of both loading
and geometry.

Flat plate with a circular hole


Now let's consider a flat plate of width b and thickness t with a load p applied axially as shown below. The nominal
stress, S, is equal to the stress at a distance b from the hole given by: 𝑆 = 𝑃1𝑏𝑡. In the region of the hole the nominal
stress is increased due to the reduction in area and is given by: 𝑆 = 𝑃1𝑐𝑡 where c is the minimum width of the bar.

According to the Saint-Venant principle the stress will increase as we approach the hole and will be maximum at the
edge of the hole as demonstrated by the stress distribution shown. THis maximum stress is related to the nominal
stress by a stress concentration factor, K, expressed as the ratio of the maximum and nominal stresses:
𝜎()*
𝑘=
𝜎67(
55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity
Stress Concentrations

Stress concentration factors are typically evaluated either numerically by a finite element analysis, analytically with a
complex mathematical treatment or empirically with an experiment using strain gauges or photo-elasticity. We
would normally evaluate a stress concentration factor from a chart such as those shown in appendix a, many papers
have been published in the engineering literature regarding stress concentrations for standard geometries and
several books of stress concentration factors exist.

Flat plate with an elliptical hole


Another important example to consider is that of a flat plate with an elliptical hole in it, if we consider this in terms
of a nominal stress (thereby ignoring the width of the bar) the maximum stress will again occur at the edge of the
hole and we can express the maximum point stress in terms of the geometry of the ellipse:

𝑐
𝜎()* = 𝑆 81 + 2 =
𝑑

We can also define this in terms of the stress concentration facto, K:


𝜎>)* 𝑐
𝑘= = 81 + 2 =
𝑆 𝑑
-
Which can be re-written in terms of the crack tip radius, 𝜌 = 𝑑 1𝑐:

𝑘 = 1 + 2@𝑐1𝜌

As the maximum stress approaches yield for a given material the stress concentration factor becomes a limiting
threshold for the geometry which we define as:

𝜎"BCDE
𝑘A = = 1 + 2@𝑐1𝜌
𝑆
55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity
Stress Concentrations

We can see from this expression that if d is very small, so a shallow ellipse, and ρ is also very small, so a sharp radius,
then kt approaches infinity as does σmax. This scenario is representative of a real crack with a sharp tip and low
opening, although in reality the stress will never reach infinity as either brittle fracture or yielding will occur. If the
material yields then ρ increases and gives a small amount of opening at the tip, defined as the crack-tip opening
displacement (CTOD) and results in a plastic wake ahead of the crack. Since we defined the Saint-Venant principle as
valid for linear elastic behaviour, it is no longer valid for elastic-plastic situations such as crack growth and we need
to move to a fracture mechanics based solution.

We can define a stress intensity factor in a similar manner to a stress concentration factor although a more detailed
treatment of the stress field at the crack tip is required for a full definition. From Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics
we can show that the stress intensity factor, K, is similarly related to geometry such that:

𝐾 = 𝐹𝑆√𝜋𝑎

Where a is the crack length and F is a factor determined from the geometry of the cracked member. The critical
maximum stress sustainable by a material without brittle failure occurring Sc defines a critical value of k (kc) which is
also known as the fracture toughness. As with stress concentration factors, the geometry factor, F, is often
determined experimentally and can be looked up in a variety of texts.

Example
Stress concentration factors
A bar machined from AA2024, a ductile, hardening material, is subjected to a static axial load. Find the critical
section of the bar.

1. Assume the stress concentrations do not interact and analyse the localised effect of each stress concentration
separately.

2. Compute the actual stress in the shoulder by taking into account the stress concentration caused by a fillet radius
in a rectangular bar in tension.

3. Compute the actual stress in the region immediately adjacent to the hole by applying the stress-concentration
factor associated for a bar in tension with a transverse hole.

4. Evaluate the critical section as the region having the highest actual stress.

Solution:

Use the figures in the appendix to find A. kh for the hole and B. kn for the notch:
55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity
Stress Concentrations

A1. Ratio of hole diameter to plate width, 𝑑1𝑏 = 0.5, kh = 2.2

A2. Nominal stress across hole, 𝑆 = 𝑃1𝑐𝑡 = 450010.02 × 0.006 = 37.5𝑀𝑃𝑎

A3. Maximum stress at edge of hole, 𝜎()* = 𝑘P . 𝑆 = 2.2 × 37.5 = 82.5𝑀𝑃𝑎

B1. Ratio of B to b, 𝐵1𝑏 = 1.5

B2. Ratio of R to c, 𝑅1𝑏 = 0.125

B3. Kn = 2.15

B4. Nominal stress in shoulder, 𝑆 = 𝑃1𝑏𝑡 = 450010.04 × 0.006 = 18.75𝑀𝑃𝑎

B5. Maximum stress at notch, 𝜎()* = 𝑘6 . 𝑆 = 2.15 × 18.75 = 40.31𝑀𝑃𝑎

Answer: The hole will be the critical section of the bar, although the stress concentration factors are similar, the
cross section of the bar at the hole causes a much higher nominal stress.

Post yield analysis


The bar above is now loaded to a nominal stress of S= 250 𝑀𝑃𝑎, estimate the stress and strain at the edge of the
hole. Assume the alloy has an elastic, power-hardening stress strain curve that follows:
X
𝜎 6Z
𝜀 = V Y 𝑜𝑟 𝜎 = 𝐻X 𝜀 6Z
𝐻X
Z
^ Z`aZ
and that the yield stress can be estimated from 𝜎7 = 𝐸 8 _Z=

Given material constants of 𝐸 = 69 𝐺𝑃𝑎, 𝐻X = 746 𝑀𝑃𝑎, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑛X = 0.1566

Solution:
First estimate the equivalent elastic stress and confirm that this exceeds the estimated yield stress:

𝑘P 𝑆 = 2.15 × 250 = 537.5 𝑀𝑃𝑎


X
746 Xfg.Xhii
𝜎7 = 69000 V Y = 321.87 𝑀𝑃𝑎
69000

So the hole has yielded, we need to find a value for stress and strain at the hole. This requires finding values of 𝜎 and
𝜀 that satisfy both the Neuber rule for post yield concentration factors and the power-hardening stress strain curve.
This requires some manipulation of the previous equations:

Neuber’s Rule:

j𝑘k 𝑘l = 𝑘A

Individual concentration factors:


𝜎 𝜀
𝑘k = 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘l =
𝑆 𝑒
55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity
Stress Concentrations

It follows that:

(𝑘A 𝑆)-
𝜎𝜀 =
𝐸

We can combine the hardening law and this expression of Neuber’s rule (sometimes referred to as the Neuber
constant) to give equations for the post yield stress and strain:
6Z X
(𝑘A 𝑆)- 6Z rX (𝑘A 𝑆)- 6Z rX
𝜎 = 𝐻X p q 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝜀 = p q
𝐸𝐻X 𝐸𝐻X

Substitution of the given values into these equations results in:

𝜀 = 0.01132 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝜎 = 369.81 𝑀𝑃𝑎

Alternatively, the parabola of values that satisfy the Neuber constant can be plotted along with a more sophisticated
model of stress-strain and the intersecting values read. You can prove to yourself that substitution onto the
Ramberg-Osgood equation yields a form with no simple solutions:
X
𝜎 𝜎 6
𝜀 = +8 =
𝐻 𝐻

600

500

400
Stress (MPa)

300

200
R-O curve

100

0
0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02
Strain

Figure 1 Combined Neuber and Ramberg-Osgood curves

This analysis gives values of:

𝜀 = 0.01216 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝜎 = 344.29 𝑀𝑃𝑎


55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity
Stress Concentrations

Appendix

Figure 2 Plate with a hole

Figure 3 Flat bar with shoulder fillets

Figure 4 Round bars with shoulder fillets


55-600199 Aerospace Structural and Integrity
Stress Concentrations