Published: Jan 1999
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“DESIGN” IS A TERM used in different ways by engineers. From a structural viewpoint, the term usually refers to the synthesis of various disciplines (statics, strength of materials, structural analysis, matrix algebra, etc.) to create a structure that is proportioned and then detailed into its final shape. When the word “design” is used in this sense, designing to prevent fracture usually refers to using an appropriate stress level as well as to the elimination (as much as possible) of those structural details that act as stress raisers and that can be potential fracture-initiation sites; for example, weld discontinuities, mismatch, and intersecting plates. Unfortunately, large complex structures (either welded or bolted) rarely are designed (or fabricated) without these discontinuities, although good design and fabrication practices can minimize their size and number.