A new approach, based on virtual strain energy, has recently been proposed and proven successful in collapsing all data for various loading conditions for a given material and environment into a single curve. Two energy parameters associated with two different physical modes of failure were used to predict the lifetime. The first parameter is a Mode I energy parameter associated with the critical plane where principal stress and strain take place, while the second parameter is a mode II energy parameter associated with the critical planes where maximum shear stresses and strains occur. The objective of this research is to incorporate this theory into a Finite Element Method (FEM) code in order to predict the lifetime of structural components subjected to complex loading. During the post processing stage of the program, the calculated stresses and strains will be used to evaluate the normal (Mode I) and shear (mode II) energy parameters, which subsequently can be used to predict the lifetime for the given structural component. Biaxial fatigue data obtained from the literature for SAE 1045 steel were used in this study to demonstrate the ability of incorporating this energy approach into FEM codes to predict the fatigue life of structural components. This ability is demonstrated by comparing the energy parameters calculated using FEM to those calculated using the experimental data.

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