Fatigue :Failure under fluctuating / cyclic stress

Under fluctuating / cyclic stresses, failure can occur at loads considerably lower than tensile or yield strengths of material under a static load: Fatigue Estimated to cause 90% of all failures of metallic structures (bridges, aircraft, machine components, etc.) Fatigue failure is brittle-like (relatively little plastic deformation) even in normally ductile materials. Thus sudden and catastrophic! Fatigue failure proceeds in three distinct stages: crack initiation in the areas of stress concentration (near stress raisers), incremental crack propagation, final catastrophic failure. Cyclic stresses characterized by maximum, minimum and mean stress, the range of stress, the stress amplitude, and the stress ratio.
Remember the convention that tensile stresses are positive, compressive stresses are negative

Fatigue: Cyclic Stresses

Mean stress: Range of stress: Stress amplitude: Stress ratio:

σm = (σmax + σmin) / 2 σr = (σmax - σmin) σa = σr/2 = (σmax - σmin) / 2 R = σmin / σmax

Fatigue: S—N curves Fatigue: rotating-bending tests produce S-N curves S (stress) vs. elastic deformation (N > 105) . N (number of cycles to failure) Low cycle fatigue: high loads. plastic and elastic deformation High cycle fatigue: low loads.

Fatigue limit occurs for some materials (some Fe and Ti alloys). S—N curve becomes horizontal at large N. It has values between 0.4 to 0.25 the TS of the material . Stress amplitude below which the material never fails. no matter how large the number of cycles is.

FCC). 107) Fatigue life: Number of cycles to fail at specified stress level . S decreases continuously with N. Fatigue strength: stress at which fracture occurs after specified number of cycles (e.g.In most alloys (ex.

Fatigue: Crack initiation and propagation Three stages of fatigue failure: 1. crack initiation in the areas of stress concentration (near stress raisers) 2. incremental crack propagation 3. final rapid crack propagation after crack reaches critical size .

The total number of cycles to failure is the sum of cycles at the first and the second stages: Nf = Ni + Np Nf : Number of cycles to failure Ni : Number of cycles for crack initiation Np : Number of cycles for crack propagation High cycle fatigue (low loads): Ni is relatively high.). With increasing stress level. . dislocation slip steps. Ni decreases and Np dominates Crack initiation: Quality of surface is important. interior corners. scratches. etc. Sites of stress concentration (microcracks. indents.

Crack grows by repetitive blunting and sharpening process at crack tip.Crack propagation ¾ I: slow propagation along crystal planes with high resolved shear stress. has flat fracture surface ¾ II: faster propagation perpendicular to the applied stress. Involves just a few grains. Crack eventually reaches critical dimension and propagates very rapidly . Rough fracture surface.


. notches etc. laser peening. amplitude. High-tech solution ion implantation. sharp transitions and edges).avoid internal corners. Makes harder outer layer and also introduces compressive stresses Optimizing geometry ..Factors that affect fatigue life Magnitude of stress (mean. Case Hardening .) Quality of the surface (scratches.rich outer layer in steels by atomic diffusion from the surface.or N. Solutions: Polishing (removes machining flaws etc..) Introducing compressive stresses (compensate for applied tensile stresses) into thin surface layer by “Shot Peening”.firing small shot into surface to be treated.create C.


Thermal cycling causes expansion and contraction.Environmental Effects Thermal Fatigue. Solutions: decrease corrosiveness of medium. Corrosion also enhances crack propagation. Chemical reactions induce pits which act as stress raisers. Solutions: eliminate restraint by design use materials with low thermal expansion coefficients Corrosion fatigue. if component is restrained. if possible add protective surface coating add residual compressive stresses . hence thermal stress.

Creep Time-dependent and permanent deformation of materials when subjected to a constant load at a high temperature (> 0. Creep testing: Furnace . Examples: turbine blades. steam generators.4 Tm).

Stages of creep .

especially important in short-life creep situations. necking. voids.1. tr. mainly elastic. is time to rupture. 2. Instantaneous deformation. Most important parameter of the creep behavior in long-life applications: & s = ∆ε / ∆t ε Another parameter. Secondary/steady-state creep. Secondary/steady-state creep is of longest duration and the steady-state creep rate . grain boundary separation. Tertiary. Rate of straining constant: workhardening and recovery. Primary/transient creep. or the rupture lifetime. etc. . time decreases with time: work-hardening 3. Slope of strain vs. 4. Rapidly accelerating strain rate up to failure: formation of internal cracks.

∆ε/∆t tr .

Creep: stress and temperature effects With increasing stress or temperature: ¾ The instantaneous strain increases ¾ The steady-state creep rate increases ¾ The time to rupture decreases .

. K and n are & s = K 2 σ exp − ε 2   RT  material constants.The stress/temperature dependence of the steady-state creep rate can be described by where Qc is the activation Q  n c  energy for creep.

Grain boundary diffusion Dislocation glide and climb . The mechanisms include: ¾Stress-assisted vacancy diffusion ¾ Grain boundary diffusion ¾ Grain boundary sliding ¾ Dislocation motion Different mechanisms result in different values of n. Qc.Mechanisms of Creep Different mechanisms are responsible for creep in different materials and under different loading and temperature conditions.

like Nb.) Creep is generally minimized in materials with: 9 High melting temperature 9 High elastic modulus 9 Large grain sizes (inhibits grain boundary sliding) The following materials are especially resilient to creep: 9 Stainless steels 9 Refractory metals (containing elements of high melting point. etc. hypersonic airplanes. nuclear reactors. Ta) 9 “Superalloys” (Co. Mo. W. Ni based: solid solution hardening and secondary phases) .Alloys for high-temperature use (turbines in jet engines.

Materials properties (such as tensile strength) are not exact quantities (such as density) Several samples from the same material may have slightly different stress-strain diagrams. hence: DESIGN MUST PREVENT PREMATURE FAILURE Safety factor (N = 1.3) determines working stress: σw = σy / N .x)2 / (n-1) ]1 /2 Variability of Properties Safety Factors Materials variability and uncertainty about loads. Average of several different data: x = Σ xi /n Variability (standard deviation) s = [ Σ (xi .5 .

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