On 3 June 1998, a high-speed train derailed near the German village Eschede, leading to over 101 fatalities and 88 injured. The main cause of the accident consisted of metal fatigue and bad maintenance. Afterwards, the train operator stated that he had only felt a sudden jolt and a loss of power, initially not knowing what had happened as a result. His statement represents a characteristic of metal fatigue itself, which occurs so gradually that it generally remains unnoticed until it’s too late. This shouldn’t be the case, as fatigue can be a fatal _and_ financial disaster. The question is: How do you recognize fatigue and take timely action?

Accurate predictions: a must

The annual cost of premature fatigue fractures in structural components is as much as 4% of the US Gross Domestic Product. What makes it difficult to take precautions is that components don’t break or crack right away. Often, this occurs after a million-or-so cycles – represented by the S-N curve, which all engineers are familiar with. So fatigue is basically an accident waiting to happen, and its danger stretches far beyond trains: everything that moves rhythmically or trembles can suffer from it. This includes household appliances such as washing machines. The alternating upward and downward shear forces will eventually cause the screw to break. Consequently, a tool that makes accurate predictions is indispensable if you want to prevent failure at a potentially catastrophic scale.

How to answer burning fatigue questions

In short, fatigue is a problem that everyone will encounter sooner or later. But when and where will it occur? How many cycles does it take before components break? In other words, how long will your product last? The MSC Fatigue solution provides the answers to these questions. When used correctly, its degree of accuracy is 95-98%, eliminating insecurity and offering the opportunity to avoid disasters.

Ready to solve fatigue problems? In Summa Innovation is happy to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Maarten Oudendijk
SR. TECHNICAL CONSULTANT

Maarten holds a degree in Computational Mechanics and likes to help customers perform nonlinear simulations. He prefers riding a bike over driving a car.

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