Applications of Probabilistic Fracture Mechanics to Offshore Structures

[+] Author and Article Information
Finn Kirkemo

VERITEC, PO Box 300, 1322 Ho̸vik, Norway

Appl. Mech. Rev 41(2), 61-84 (Feb 01, 1988) (24 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3151882 History: Online June 03, 2009


For offshore structures the fatigue limit state is governing the structural dimensions of several members and joint connections. Safety against fatigue failure is achieved through a combination of design requirements and performance of in-service inspections with repair of detected fatigue cracks. A review of uncertainties involved in fatigue life predictions by fracture mechanics is presented with particular reference to steel structures. Sources of uncertainties considered are: environmental conditions, hydrodynamic loading, global structural analysis, local stress calculation at fatigue sensitive points, and fatigue crack growth modeling by fracture mechanics. A probabilistic model using the fracture mechanics in probabilistic form is presented. This model accounts for uncertainties in loading, initial and critical defect sizes, material parameters, and in the uncertainty related to computation of the stress intensity factor. Failure probabilities are computed by first-order reliability methods and sensitivity factors are determined. Model updating based on in-service inspection results is formulated. Uncertainties with respect to detecting a crack and to correctly sizing a crack are included. Experience on application of the analysis method is presented.

Copyright © 1988 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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