A Finite Element and Experimental Investigation on the Fatigue of Riveted Lap Joints in Aircraft Applications
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Aircraft fuselage skin panels are joined together by rivets. The initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks in aircraft structures at and around the rivet/skin interface is directly related to residual stress field induced during the riveting process and subsequent service loads. Variations in the manufacturing process, such as applied loading and presence of sealant can influence the induced residual stress field. In previous research, the riveting process has been simulated by a 2D axisymmetric force-controlled analysis. The 2D analysis cannot capture the unsymmetrical residual stress state resulting from process variations. Experimental work has also been limited to observing effects of squeeze force on fatigue crack initiation in the riveted lap joint. In this work, a 3D finite element model of the riveting process that incorporates plasticity and contact between the various surfaces is simulated using ABAQUS finite element code to capture the residual stress state at the rivet/skin interface. The finite element model is implemented to observe the effects of interference, sealant and hole quality on the residual stress state using Implicit and Explicit solvers. Effects of subsequent load transfer are also analyzed with the developed model. A set of controlled lap joint fatigue experiments for the different conditions provides validation to the model.