The main objective of this paper is to determine the regions in a component or structure that directly participate in inelastic action (reference volume) using a new robust simplified method, namely the Elastic Modulus Adjustment Procedure (EMAP). The proposed method is based on iterative linear elastic finite element analysis that is implemented by modifying the local elastic modulus of the material at each subsequent iteration. The application of reference volume on optimum shape design is demonstrated through some practical examples including thick-walled cylinder, shank-head component and overlap joint weld. The results show that the reference volume concept can be used to optimize the shape of a body with respect to load carrying capacity and fatigue strength.

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