Probabilistic fatigue life of balsa cored sandwich composites subjected to transverse shear

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A probabilistic fatigue life model for end-grain balsa cored sandwich composites subjectedto transverse shear is proposed. The model is calibrated to measured three-pointbending constant-amplitude fatigue test data using the maximum likelihood method. Some possible applications of the probabilistic model are obtaining characteristic S–Ncurves corresponding to a given survival probability, and calibrating partial safety factorsfor material fatigue. The latter is demonstrated by a calibration performed using reliability analysis with the first-order reliability method. The measured variance in balsa shearproperties, for both static strength and fatigue failure, is higher than the variance normallyobserved in the properties for fiber-reinforced polymer composite laminates. This could be attributed to the fact that end-grain balsa wood is the product of a naturally occurringgrowth process, which cannot be controlled to the same extent as an industrial manufacturing processes. The large variance in the probabilistic model for fatigue life is reflected in the corresponding calibrated partial safety factors, which are higher thanthe factors usually associated with synthetic materials such as fiber-reinforced laminates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sandwich Structures & Materials
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)562-577
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Probabilistic
  • Fatigue
  • Balsa
  • Reliability
  • Transverse shear
  • Sandwich
  • Composites


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