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nCode DesignLife - Product Options

nCode DesignLife Product Options

nCode DesignLife is CAE-based software solution for fatigue and durability analysis. DesignLife works with all leading finite element (FE) codes and produces realistic predictions of fatigue hotspots and fatigue life. DesignLife shares an environment with nCode GlyphWorks, a graphical test data processing software, to provide an unparalleled integration of test and CAE data.

Core Functionality:

Virtual Strain Gauge – Enables correlation between test and finite element results. Single or rosette gauges may be graphically positioned and oriented on finite models as a post-processing step. Time histories due to applied loads can then be extracted for direct correlation with your measured strain data.

Schedule Create - lets the user build and process multiple cases that model a duty cycle. Through an intuitive interface, Schedule Create makes it easy to create a complete durability schedule.

Signal Processing – includes nCode Fundamentals functionality for basic data manipulation, analysis and visualization.

Materials Manager – enables materials data to be added, edited and plotted. A default database with fatigue properties for many commonly used materials is also provided.


  • Python Scripting – enables Python scripting to be used to extend existing analysis capabilities rather than needing to code fatigue analysis from scratch. Perfect for proprietary methods or research projects. Available for all the major analysis types including SN, EN, and short fibre composites and also for all the main loading types including vibration.
  • FEInput Glyph – passes FE file results directly into the GlyphWorks environment to allow custom analysis development within the standard scripting glyph with either Python or Matlab.

Crack Growth - provides a complete fracture mechanics capability using industry standard methodologies for specified locations on an FE model. Built-in growth laws include NASGRO, Forman, Paris, Walker, and more. Select from a provided library of geometries or supply custom stress intensity factors.

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Strain-Life (EN)

The Strain-life method is applicable to a wide range of problems including low-cycle fatigue with the local elastic-plastic strain controls the fatigue life. The standard E-N method uses the Coffin-Manson-Basquin formula, defining the relationship between strain amplitude εª and the number of cycles to failure Nf. Material models can also be defined using general look-up curves. This enables the ability to interpolate multiple material data curves for factors such as mean stress or temperature.

Material models

  • Standard EN
  • EN mean multi-curve
  • EN R-ratio multi-curve
  • EN temperature multi-curve
  • Gray Iron
  • Custom EN using Python scripting

Strain combination methods or critical plane analysis

Stress-strain tracking for accurate cycle positioning

Back calculation to target life

Multiaxial Damage models

  • Wang Brown
  • Wang Brown with Mean

Mean stress corrections

  • Morrow
  • Smith Watson Topper
  • Interpolate multiple curves

Plasticity corrections

  • Neuber
  • Hoffman-Seeger
  • Seeger-Heuler
  • JiangSehitoglu

Multiaxial assessment

  • Biaxial
  • 3D Multiaxial
  • Auto-correction

Webinar: Multiaxial Fatigue Life Prediction

Webinar: Fatigue Analysis from Non-Linear FEA

Stress-Life (SN)

The primary application of the Stress-Life (SN) method is high-cycle fatigue (long lives) where nominal stress controls the fatigue life. Includes the ability to interpolate multiple material data curves for factors such as mean stress or temperature. Further options are also provided to account for stress gradients and surface finishes. Python scripting is also available for defining custom fatigue methods and material models.

Material models

  • Standard SN
  • SN Mean multi-curve
  • SN R-ratio multi-curve
  • SN Haigh multi-curve
  • SN Temperature multi-curve
  • Bastenaire SN
  • Custom SN using Python scripting

Stress combination methods or critical plane analysis

Back calculation to target life

Mean stress corrections

  • FKM Guidelines
  • Goodman
  • Gerber
  • Interpolate multiple curves

Stress gradient corrections

  • FKM Guidelines
  • User defined

Multiaxial Assessment

  • Biaxial
  • 3D Multiaxial
  • Auto-correction

Dang Van

Dang Van is a multi-axial fatigue limit criterion and is a method of predicting the endurance limit under complex loading situations. The output from the analysis is expressed as a safety factor rather than fatigue life.

  • Uses specific material parameters calculated from tensile and torsion tests.
  • Manufacturing effects can be accounted for by using equivalent plastic strain in the unloaded component.
  • Includes a new optimised algorithm and by standard and spot weld methods

Download available:

White Paper: Taking into Account the Forming Process in Fatigue Design Computations

Safety Factor

Safety Factor enables the calculation of stress based factors of safety. This method is widely used as a key design criteria for engine and powertrain components like crankshafts, camshafts and pistons.

  • Inputs are linear stress or strain for this S-N based technique.
  • Material inputs are standard mean stress corrections or user-specified Haigh diagrams to assess durability.
  • Stresses from a complete finite element model are analyzed in a single analysis process.

Webinar: Powertrain and Safety Factor Analysis in nCode DesignLife

Spot Weld

The Spot Weld option enables the fatigue analysis of spot welds in thin sheets. The approach is based on the LBF method (see SAE paper 950711) and is well-suited to vehicle structure applications.

  • Spot welds are modelled by stiff beam elements (e.g. NASTRAN CBAR) as supported by many leading FE pre-processors.
  • Supports – CWELD, ACM formulations using solid element representation.
  • Cross sectional forces and moments are used to calculate structural stress around the edge of the weld spot.
  • Life calculations are made around spot weld at multiple angle increments and the total life reported includes the worst case.
  • Python scripting enables modelling of other joining methods such as rivets or bolts.

Webinar: Fatigue of Welds using nCode DesignLife

Seam Weld

The Seam Weld option enables the fatigue analysis of seam welded joints including fillet, overlap, and laser welded joints. The method is based on the approach developed by Volvo (see also SAE paper 982311) and validated through years of use on vehicle chassis and body development projects.

  • Uses stresses either from FE models (shell or solid elements) or stresses from grid point forces or displacements at the weld.
  • Appropriate for weld toe, root and throat failures.
  • Automatic selection between Fillet and Overlap weld types.
  • Thick welds can be assessed using the stress integration method outlined in ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code VIII (Division 2) standard.
  • Corrections available for sheet thickness and mean stress effects.
  • Supports BS7608 welding standard, together with required material curves.

View whitepaper: Fatigue Analysis of Seam Welded Structures

Webinar: Fatigue of Welds using nCode DesignLife

Webinar: Fatigue of Welds for Heavy Equipment

Vibration Fatigue

The Vibration Fatigue option enables more realistic and efficient fatigue life prediction of applications with random loading such as wind and wave loads using the frequency domain.

  • FE models are solved for frequency response analysis and the vibration loading is defined in DesignLife.
  • Uses either Modal stress and the complex modal participation factors or Frequency Response Function results.
  • Simulates vibration shaker tests driven by random PSD, swept-sine, sine-on-random or sine-dwell.
  • Defines vibration loading and can include effect of temperature, static offset load cases and complete duty cycles of combined loading.
  • Available with SN, EN, seam weld, spot weld and Short Fibre methods.
  • Multi-load vibration option provides sine-on-random and multiple simultaneous PSD loading
  • Perfect add-on product is Accelerated Testing to derive a tailored test profile from multiple loading spectra.

Related Content:

See recorded presentation on using DesignLife for Vibration Fatigue

Webinar: Applications of Frequency Based Fatigue

Webinar: Advances in Finite Element Based Vibration Fatigue Analysis

SAE Paper: Obtaining a Swept Sine on Random Vibration Profile for Powertrain Mounted Component Qualification

Thermo-Mechanical Fatigue

The Thermo-Mechanical Fatigue (TMF) option provides solvers for high temperature fatigue and creep by using stress and temperature results from finite element simulations. Applications include components that are both mechanically and thermally loaded such as vehicle exhaust systems and manifolds.

High temperature fatigue methods:

  • Chaboche method is a stress-life approach that uses stresses from FE and either a constant or cycle-by-cycle temperature correction.
  • ChabocheTransient method accounts for temperature by normalizing the stress history prior to cycle counting. This method has particular application for finite element analysis where the temperature and stress variation is closely correlated, for example where a transient visco-elasto-plastic analysis has been performed.

Creep analysis methods:

  • Chaboche and Larson-Miller creep methods are available.
  • The damage from fatigue and creep can be directly summed. The required material data is derived from standard constant temperature fatigue and creep tests.

Related Content:

See recorded presentation discussing Thermo-Mechanical Fatigue

SAE Paper: Isothermal and Thermo-Mechanical Fatigue of Automotive Components

Short Fibre Composite

The Short Fibre Composite option uses stress-life fatigue calculations for anisotropic materials such as glass fibre filled thermoplastics. The stress tensor for each layer and section integration point through the thickness is read by DesignLife from FE results. The material orientation tensor describing the “fibre share” at each calculation point is provided by mapping a manufacturing simulation to the finite element model. This orientation tensor can be read from the FE-results file or supplied from an ASCII file.

  • Stresses can be from regular FE results or from calculations with a composite material model from DIGIMAT. In this case, the averaged matrix and fibre stresses will be available in addition to the overall composite (macro) stresses.
  • Primarily aimed at the fatigue analysis of short fibre composites, it can also be applied to laminar composites where failure modes due to interlaminar stresses can be ignored.
  • A set of one or more SN curves based on fibre share is used to determine the SN curve for each calculation point and orientation.
  • Stress combination methods are provided for critical plane and absolute maximum principal stress.

Webinar: Fatigue Analysis of Short Fibre Reinforced Injection Moulded Thermoplastics

Webinar: Fatigue of Composite Materials using nCode DesignLife

White paper: Fatigue Analysis of Fibre-Reinforced Polymers

Brochure: Fatigue Analysis of Composite Materials

Composite Analysis

The Composite Analysis option allows users to evaluate the strength of a structure against industry standard composite failure criteria. Rather than limiting this evaluation to a small number of load cases or steps, stresses can be assessed by using the chosen failure criteria throughout realistic duty cycles (quasi-static or dynamic), allowing critical locations, load combinations and associated design reserve factors to be readily identified. In addition, selected location loading paths may be visually compared with the material failure envelope.

The following methods can be used individually or combined to give the most conservative result: 

  • Maximum stress
  • Maximum strain
  • Norris
  • Norris-McKinnon
  • Hoffman
  • Tsai-Hill
  • Tsai-Wu
  • Franklin-Marin
  • Hashin
  • Hashin-Rotem
  • Hashin-Sun
  • Christensen
  • Nu
  • User-defined custom methods via Python 

Brochure: Fatigue Analysis of Composite Materials

Webinar: Composite Failure Analysis in nCode DesignLife

Adhesive Bonds

The Adhesive Bonds option enables durability calculations on adhesive joints in metallic structures. nCode DesignLife uses a fracture mechanics-based method to assess which joints in the structure are most critically loaded.

  • Adhesive bonds are modeled with beam elements and grid point forces are used to determine line forces and moments at the edge of the glued flange.
  • Approximate calculations of the strain energy release rate are made at the edge of the adhesive and, by comparison to the crack growth threshold, a safety factor is calculated.
  • The theoretical basis of the method was developed by the Volvo Group and the testing and software implementation was carried out as part of a collaborative research project with partners including Jaguar Land Rover, Coventry University and Warwick University.

See recorded presentation discussing Adhesive Bonds

White Paper: A Fracture Mechanics Approach to Durability Calculations for Adhesive Joints - published in SAE International Journal of Materials and Manufacturing, April 2012

Strain Gauge Positioning

The Strain Gauge Positioning feature calculates the optimum position and number of gauges. The correct positioning of the gauges then facilitates the reconstruction of applied load histories from measured strain gauge data on the component.

This option appears as a new strain gauge method in the strain gauge analysis engine.

Related content:

See recorded presentation on Correlating FE and Test

See recorded presentation to learn the benefits of Load Reconstruction 

Distributed Processing

Distributed Processing enables a DesignLife analysis to be run in High Performance Computing (HPC) environments or other multi-machine configurations so that even the largest of finite element simulations can be completed efficiently.

  • Supports Intel® MPI (Message Passing Interface) for Windows® and Linux® operating systems and Microsoft® MPI and Microsoft HPC clusters.
  • Enables you to rapidly solve jobs by using the combined processors of many machines.
  • Includes a batch interface program to simplify the running of distributed jobs.

Webinar: Distributed Processing and High Performance Computing in nCode DesignLife