How to set classification for DNV RP-C203

Last Updated on April 12th, 2024 by

For calculation of fatigue, the type of loading, the different load cycles and the calculation method, rainflow counting vs spectral fatigue calculation and allowable fatigue stress vs direct fatigue damage is important, but also the resistance of the material and in case of welded structures the influence of welds needs to be taken into account.

The DNV RP-C203 like all direct fatigue damage rule-based codes as Eurocode 3, BS 5400, IIW-1823-07 use S-N curves to calculate direct fatigue damage.

Allowable stress design codes as the EN13001, FEM 1.001, DIN15018, NEN 2018, NEN 2019, EN280, etc. use these curves as well but as fixed points on the graph to determine an allowable fatigue stress for a specific amount of loads loading logarithmic scale of cycles to failure, for more info on this see DIN15018 fatigue and EN280 fatigue.

The S-N curves are specified by the standard and take into account the type of the material, the connection or connection (welds), the stress direction and the surrounding environment. As an example, see the S-N curves for the air environment from DNVGL-RP-C203 (Edition April 2016):

S-N curves in air

S-N category depends on the type of constructional detail (non-welded, welded) and stress direction (parallel to the weld, perpendicular to the weld and shear). In the finite element model, the required information is missing and in result, the task of setting a classification can be time-consuming.


In SDC Verifier the Weld Finder tool recognizes welds automatically and converts stresses from local element direction into weld direction, which helps to set classification in different weld stress directions.

Weld Finder tool recognizes welds automatically

Recognized welds in the model:

Weld Finder tool. Recognized welds

Classification description

The DNVGL RP C203 method is intended for hotspot stresses, (SDC Verifier uses method B). For locations where finer meshing results in high-stress concentration factors (SCF) (point a in the picture below) the stress concentration is already calculated in the model – use category D, see description from the standard below:

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For locations where finer meshing results in high-stress concentration factors (for weld tips as for example, direction II at position ‘a’) the classification is D, for all other locations the S-N class needs to be set with help of appendix A. (see below)

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The text above also indicates that the 1.12 factor can be omitted for locations where nominal S_N curves are used.

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The classification for the nominal stress locations is according to specific details in the standard Appendix A:

Classification of structural details

How can this description from the standard be used, and how does this classification work for our model?

At first, we find all the relevant classification descriptions which apply to our model.

The classification depends on welded/ non-welded, type of detail/component/weld and direction of the stress. The shown classification example shows a possible classification, but do not forget to read the requirements of that classification.

For Non-welded details:

For non-welded details – category B1:

Detailcategory Constructional details Description Requirement
B1 word image 18 1.Rolled or extruded plates and



Rolled sections

1. to 2.— Sharp edges, surface and rolling flaws to be

improved by grinding.

— For members that can

acquire stress

concentrations due to rust pitting etc. curve C is required.

Welded details:

For welded details and for stresses parallel to the weld – category C1

Detailcategory Constructional details Description Requirement
C1 word image 19 3.Automatic fillet or butt welds carried out from both sides but containing stop-start



Automatic butt welds made from one side only, with a backing bar, but without

start-stop positions.

4.— When the detail

contains start-stop

positions use category


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For Butt welds and for stresses perpendicular to the weld – category D:

Detailcategory Constructional details Description Requirement
D word image 21 4.Transverse splices in plates and flats.


Transverse splices in rolled sections or welded plate girders


Transverse splices in plates or flats tapered in width or in thickness where the slope is

not greater than 1:4.

4., 5. and 6.— The height of the weld

convexity not to be

greater than 10% of the

weld width, with smooth

transitions to the plate


— Welds made in flat

position in the shop.

— Weld run-off pieces to

be used and subsequently removed.

Plate edges to be

ground flush in direction

of stress.

For Butt welds welded from one side and stresses perpendicular to the weld – category W3:

Detailcategory Constructional details Description Requirement
W3 word image 22 1.Butt weld made from

one side only and

without backing strip.

1.With the root proved free from

defects larger than 1-2 mm (in the thickness direction) by nondestructive testing, detail 1 may be categorized to F3 (it is assumed that this is fulfilled by inspection category I). See also commentary section). If it is likely that larger defects may be present after the inspection the detail may be downgraded from F3 based on fatigue life calculation using fracture

mechanics. The analysis should then be based on relevant defect size.

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For shear stresses – category E (hotspot stress ignored):

E word image 24 6.Continuous fillet welds

transmitting a shear flow, such as web to flange welds in plate girders. For continuous full penetration butt weld in shear use

Category C2.


Fillet welded lap joint.

6.— Stress range to be calculated from the weld throat area.


— Stress range to be calculated from the weld throat area considering the total length of the weld.

— Weld terminations more than 10 mm from the plate edge.

Non-butt welds E (or F):

For non-welded material but with welded attachments, the influence of the weld is taken into account as well.

For stresses perpendicular to the weld – category E:

Detailcategory Constructional details Description Requirement
word image 25 8.Transverse attachments

with edge distance ≥10 mm


Vertical stiffener welded to a beam or a plate girder.


Diaphragms of box girders

welded to the flange or web

9.— The stress range should

be calculated using principal stresses or the procedure described in [4.3.4] if the stiffener terminates in the web.

8., 9. and 10.

The detail category is given


— Edge distance ≥10 mm

— For edge distance < 10 mm the detail category shall be downgraded

with one S-N-curve

E t ≤25 mm
F t > 25 mm

For Joint welds and load-carrying – category E, for full penetration welds, fillet welds – W3:

word image 26 1. Full penetration butt welded cruciform joint 1.:— Inspected and found free

from significant defects.

The detail category is given for:

— Edge distance ≥10mm

— For edge distance < 10mm the detail category shall be downgraded with one


Et ≤25 m
Ft > 25


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Non Butt welds can be selected by taking common elements from welded elements and welds with 3 connected parts:

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Classification in SDC Verifier:

In Classification tool it is possible to assign S-N curve for different selections and in different stress directions in a simple classification table:

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To verify the classification, the colored label plot should be displayed.

Classification in X-direction (parallel to the weld):

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Classification in the Y direction (perpendicular to the weld):

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Classification in the XY direction:

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Fatigue checks according to the DNV RP C203 can be performed in SDC Verifier. Automatic recognition of welds, conversion of results and classification tool help to speed the verification.

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