March 2016

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Engineering Case Histories: Case 89: Cracking of welds due to weld fatigue

Pressure vessels, piping and fabricated structures adhering to recognized welding codes rarely fail in static loading, unless they are damaged or severely overloaded.

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

Pressure vessels, piping and fabricated structures adhering to recognized welding codes rarely fail in static loading, unless they are damaged or severely overloaded. Weld cracking can develop in pressure vessels under cyclic conditions.1 While extensive research and design guides exist for the design of welds under cyclic conditions, the complex metallurgy of a weld, and the quality of the weld, are difficult to define. Here, in-service failures are discussed, based on the author’s experience with fatigue cracking of welded fabrications. Calculations2 had been performed to determine the nominal cyclic stress present when failures occurred. In this manner, limiting cyclic stress could be de

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