FITNET is a 4-year European thematic network with the objective of developing and extending the use of fitness-for-service procedures throughout Europe. It is part-funded by the Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme and forms part of the EU's Framework 5 research programme. Additional funding comes from the participants in the form of in-kind contributions, including information from related EU- and ECSC-funded projects.
Flaws (such as cracks, welding defects and corrosion damage) can arise during the manufacture and/or use of metallic components. For safety-critical items such as aircraft, pipelines and pressure vessels, the failure of a single component due to the presence of a flaw can threaten human life, as well as having severe economic and environmental consequences. Other flaws may be harmless, as they will not lead to failure during the lifetime of the component. Replacement and/or repair of such flaws is economically wasteful. A fitness-for-service procedure allows flaws to be evaluated consistently and objectively, using fracture mechanics principles. Although several fitness-for-service procedures already exist (e.g. API579, BS7910, SINTAP, R6), they tend to be aimed at a particular industry sector, or a single failure mode, or are national documents. There is therefore a need for an agreed European procedure, which could ultimately become a European (CEN) standard.
The network co-ordinator is GKSS in Geesthacht, Germany. Nine other organisations make up the principal contractors leading the working groups and work packages. Principal contractors include representatives of universities, industry and research and technology organisations. The remaining organisations ('members') provide in-kind contributions such as in-house procedures, case studies and industry know-how. Self-funded contributions from other organisations and individuals ('participants') are also welcome.
The network consists of a matrix of Working Groups and Work Packages, under the leadership of the network co-ordinator. The Working Groups address particular failure modes, such as corrosion, fracture, fatigue and creep. The Work Packages cover all failure modes, and address a particular stage of the network, e.g. review of state of the art, standardisation, dissemination, education.
The network started in February 2002 and will run until the end of May 2006. There will be two public seminars during this period, which will provide feedback on the progress of the project and training for new users. Details of these seminars will be posted here on the project website - www.eurofitnet.org - nearer the time.
Where can I find out more?
Contact the network disseminator, Dr Isabel Hadley (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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