Rainflow Fatigue Cycle Counting

Endo & Matsuishi (1968) developed the Rainflow Counting method by relating stress reversal cycles to streams of rainwater flowing down a Pagoda.  This method is very useful for fatigue analysis.

The rainflow method allows the application of Miner’s rule in order to assess the fatigue life of a structure subject to complex loading.

The resulting tabular data is sometimes referred to as a spectra.

rainflow bins.m is a Matlab script that performs rainflow cycle counting on a time history per ASTM E 1049-85 (2005). Its supporting function is: progressbar.m

Rainflow counting is also included in the following GUI package.

Matlab script: Vibrationdata Signal Analysis Package

The specific method is ASTM E 1049-85, section 5.4.4, Rainflow Counting. The results of this method for an example are shown in Figure 6 of the ASTM document.

A Fortran version is:  RAINFLOW.F

A C/C++ version is:

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Here is a version which outputs the results in a NASGRO long block format:


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These scripts arbit_rainflow.zip calculate the response of a single-degree-of-freedom system to an arbitrary base input time history.

The scripts also have an option for rainflow cycle counting.

arbit_rainflow.m is the main script.

The remaining scripts are supporting functions.

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Here is a script for calculating a damage index from the rainflow results. It is meant for relative comparisons only. fatigue_damage_sum.m

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See also:

Basic Rainflow Cycle Counting & Fatigue Damage Spectrum: basic_rainflow_FDS_revA.pptx 

Fatigue Analysis Webinars

A Comparison of the Consecutive Peak and Rainflow Cycle Counting Methods for Cumulative Damage Calculation: Rayleigh_rainflow_study.pdf

Fatigue Damage for a Stress Response PSD

Miner’s Cumulative Fatigue via Rainflow Cycle Counting

Rainflow Counting Tutorial

Fatigue Damage Spectrum

Dirlik Method for PSDs

Python Rainflow Page

Matlab Mex Example

Enveloping Nonstationary Random Vibration Data

Sine Vibration Rainflow & Fatigue Damage

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– Tom Irvine
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7 thoughts on “Rainflow Fatigue Cycle Counting

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