Probabilistic Approach for the Fatigue Strength Prediction of Polymers
The dominating factor in the fatigue of structures made from fiber reinforced polymers (FRP), for example wind turbine blades, is the polymer matrix. Traditionally, experimental stress-life data of polymers is approximated via a linear double-log Basquin model. Recently, the non-linear stress-life formulation by Stüssi was found to provide a better fit of the experimental data with a substantially reduced standard deviation. Moreover, a non-linear constant-life formulation, as proposed by Boerstra, for example, can enhance the representation of the mean stress effect compared to state-of-the-art linear models, i.e., the modified Goodman relation. To this end, we incorporated Stüssi’s model into the Boerstra relation to take account of the mean stress effects of an epoxy. This stress-life formulation was then enhanced with the Weibull probability function. The probabilistic-stress-life model provided a good approximation of the fatigue performance as a function of the stress ratio on the basis of an experimental data set. Finally, we suggested a step-wise engineering approach to derive the permissible stress-life with a view to practical design purposes. The procedure increased the reliability of the fatigue design evaluation compared to the state-of-the-art methodologies.