SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Analytical and Experimental Investigation of Fatigue in Lap Joints


A finite element model is presented that can simulate crack growth in layered structures such as lap joints. The layers can be joined either by rivets or adhesives. The crack is represented discretely in the mesh, and automatic remeshing is performed as the crack grows. Because of the connections between the layers, load is transferred to the uncracked layer as the crack grows. This reduces the stress intensity and slows the crack growth rate.

The model is used to analyze tests performed on a section of a wing spanwise lap joint. The crack was initiated at a rivet and grown under constant amplitude cyclic loads. Both experimentally observed crack growth rates and the analysis show the retardation that occurs as a result of load transfer between layers. A good correlation is obtained between predicted and observed crack growth rates for the fully developed through-thickness crack.

Author Information

Swenson, DV
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Chih-Chien, C
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Derber, TG
Durability and Damage Tolerance Group, Boeing Military Airplanes, Wichita, KS
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 449–459
DOI: 10.1520/STP24174S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5185-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1423-4