The conceptof ‘light fabrication’ could take on a double meaning, thanks to new researchinto metal fatigue – and particularly into the strength of welded joints.

Researchersat Aalto University in Finland claim that welded structures could be made moreefficient using modern materials and manufacturing methods, leading to morelightweight construction with the same reliability.

This isbecause many current guidelines for welded structures are based on averagestrength values – regardless of the modernity of the manufacturing technologyused to construct them.

“Withthe models that have been developed, it is possible to consider the differencebetween traditional and advanced structural joints, and the impact on fatigueresistance,” say the researchers, led by senior lecturer Heikki Remes.

Theirfindings, which they hope will lead to more accurate fatigue modelling, havebeen published in the International Journal of Fatigue.

With thisand other similar research work, the global steel industry is working towardsmore efficient construction methods, helping to really put the ‘light’ into’light fabrication’ by achieving comparable strength with a reduced mass of rawmaterials.