Fatigue Analyses of Riveted Lap-Splice Joints in a Narrow-Body Aircraft

  • J. C. NewmanJr.
  • R. Ramakrishnan
Conference paper


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Delta Air Lines had teamed to conduct a destructive evaluation of a retired narrow-body passenger aircraft that had nearly 60,000 flights. Some of the program objectives were to characterize the state of damage at riveted lap-joint fastener holes in the fuselage of an aircraft at the design service goal; and to develop or verify analysis methods that can correlate and predict the state of cracking at any point in time.

The crack-growth model, FASTRAN, was used to evaluate Elber’s effective stress-intensity-factor range in terms of crack-tip cyclic hysteresis energies and was found to correctly partition energies associated with crack-tip damage. The model was used to correlate constant-amplitude fatigue-crack-growth-rate data over a wide range in rates and stress ratios (minimum to maximum applied stress) from threshold to near fracture conditions. The model was then used to calculate fatigue lives using small-crack theory and/or crack growth in open-hole laboratory specimens, fastener-loaded holes in curved test panels cut from the aircraft fuselage, and fastener-loaded holes in acutal fuselage lap joints from the retired aircraft made of thin-sheet 2024-T3 aluminum alloy. Equivalent-initial-flaw sizes (EIFS) were established for the laboratory specimens and for the fuselage lap joints that had been subjected to actual service loads and environments. Calculated fatigue lives for the laboratory specimens agree well with test data; and the calculated crack length against flight pressure cycles for the narrow-body aircraft fuselage were quite similar to the results found from fractographic examinations.

In this paper, the terms fatigue life and crack-growth life are used synonymously since all fatigue-life calculations were performed using the FASTRAN crack-growth methodology with the EIFS concept and formulations based on small-crack theory.


Federal Aviation Administration Corner Crack Fastener Hole Aircraft Fuselage Rivet Hole 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. NewmanJr.
    • 1
  • R. Ramakrishnan
    • 2
  1. 1.Mississippi State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Delta Air Lines Inc.AtlantaUSA

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