This paper presents an analytical study on the vibration response of tubular T-joints for detecting the existence of cracks along their intersections. The ABAQUS finite element program was utilized for carrying out the analysis. Frequency response functions were obtained for a joint with and without cracks. The joint was modeled with 8-node degenerate shell elements having 5 degrees of freedom per node. Line spring elements were used to model the crack. The exact crack configuration (semielliptical shape, Fig. 5(b)), as observed from numerous experimental fatigue crack investigations at the critical location, has been achieved through a mapping function, that allows a crack in a planar element to be mapped on to the tube surface. The natural frequency changes with respect to crack depth show little changes, being 4.82 percent for a 83-percent crack depth for the first mode. On the other hand, significant changes have been observed for bending moment and curvature as a function of crack depth. For an 83-percent chord thickness crack, a 97-percent change in bending moment at points around the crack vicinity, and 34.15 to 78 percent change in bending moments, for those locations far away from the crack location, have been observed. Natural frequency change should be combined with other modal parameters such as “bending moment (or bending strain)” and “curvature” changes for crack detection. The presence of the crack can be detected at locations far away from the crack location using such sensors as strain gages.

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