Bending fatigue caused crack propagation and catastrophic failures at several locations near the welds on the low-carbon steel tubular cargo box frame of police three-wheel motorcycles. ANSYS finite element analysis revealed that bending stresses in some of the frame members were aggravated by poor detail design between vertical and horizontal tubes. Stresses observed in the ANSYS analysis were not sufficient to cause the onset of fatigue. However when compounded by stress concentration factors and in-service dynamic loading, the frame could have been regularly subjected to stresses over the fatigue limit of the material. A strain gage static loading test verified FEM results, and finite element techniques were applied in the design of reinforcing members to renovate the frames. Material properties were determined and welding procedures specified for the reinforcing members. Inspection intervals were devised to avoid future problems.
Thomas A. Knott, Three-Wheel Motorcycle Frame Failures and Redesign, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 83–87, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v02.c9001309
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