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Fatigue life

ASTM defines fatigue life, Nf, as the number of stress cycles of a specified character that a specimen sustains before failure of a specified nature occurs.[1]

Characteristics of fatigue
Fracture of an aluminium crank arm. Dark area slo! crack "ro!th. #ri"ht area sudden fracture. • The process starts !ith dislocation mo$ements, e$entually formin" persistent slip bands that nucleate short cracks. • Fati"ue is a stochastic process, often sho!in" considerable scatter e$en in controlled en$ironments.
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The "reater the applied stress ran"e, the shorter the life. Fati"ue life scatter tends to increase for lon"er fati"ue li$es. Dama"e is cumulati$e. Materials do not reco$er !hen rested. Fati"ue life is influenced by a $ariety of factors, such as temperature, surface finish, microstucture, presence of o%idi&in" or inert chemicals, residual stresses, contact 'frettin"(, etc. Some materials 'e."., some steel and titanium alloys( e%hibit a theoretical fati"ue limit belo! !hich continued loadin" does not lead to failure. )n recent years, researchers 'see, for e%ample, the !ork of #athias, Murakami, and Stan&l*Tsche""( ha$e found that failures occur belo! the theoretical fati"ue limit at $ery hi"h fati"ue li$es '1+, to 1+1+ cycles(. An ultrasonic resonance techni-ue is used in these e%periments !ith fre-uencies around 1+./+ k0&. 0i"h cycle fati"ue stren"th 'about 1+1 to 1+2 cycles( can be described by stress*based parameters. A load*controlled ser$o*hydraulic test ri" is commonly used in these tests, !ith fre-uencies of around /+.3+ 0&. 4ther sorts of machines5like resonant ma"netic machines5can also be used, achie$in" fre-uencies up to /3+ 0&. 6o! cycle fati"ue 'typically less than 1+1 cycles( is associated !ith !idespread plasticity7 thus, a strain*based parameter should be used for fati"ue life prediction. Testin" is conducted !ith constant strain amplitudes typically at +.+1.3 0&.

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Timeline of early fatigue history
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1218 9ilhelm Albert publishes the first article on fati"ue. 0e de$ised a test machine for con$eyor chains used in the :lausthal mines.[/] 121, ;ean*<ictor =oncelet describes metals as bein" tired in his lectures at the military school at Met&.

123> #raith!aite reports on common ser$ice fati"ue failures and coins the term fatigue. :. 1. • • • 1.3> 6. )t !as likely a fati"ue failure. 1. 128+ 9Ehler summarises his !ork on railroad a%les.D1 =. 12>. Manson e%plain fati"ue crack*"ro!th in terms of plastic strain in the tip of cracks.oseph @lynn reports on fati"ue of a%le on locomoti$e tender. • 1. 0e concludes that cyclic stress ran"e is more important than peak stress and introduces the concept of endurance limit./>( linear dama"e hypothesis as a practical desi"n tool. Alber elucidates the mechanisms and importance of crack closure in slo!in" the "ro!th of a fati"ue crack due to the !ed"in" effect of plastic deformation left behind the tip of the crack. • • High-cycle fatigue .[/] Micro"raphs sho!in" ho! surface fati"ue cracks "ro! as material is further cycled. S. 0. The <ersailles train crash !as caused by a%le fati"ue. Matsuiski de$ise the rainflo!*countin" al"orithm and enable the reliable application of MinerHs rule to random loadin"s. M.>3 A. probably from a ri$et hole in tread of rail!ay carria"e !heel. 1.ohn Mac-uorn ?ankine reco"nises the importance of stress concentrations in his in$esti"ation of railroad a%le failures. [>] • • • • • • 12D+ Systematic fati"ue testin" undertaken by Sir 9illiam Fairbairn and Au"ust 9Ehler. the effects of continued changes of load upon iron structures and to what extent they could be loaded without danger to their ultimate security. usin" 9EhlerHs test data. Miner popularises A. From A!in" F 0umfrey '1. =aris proposes methods for predictin" the rate of "ro!th of indi$idual fati"ue cracks in the face of initial scepticism and popular defence of MinerHs phenomenolo"ical approach. F. 0e identifies the key!ay as the crack ori"in.1+ 4. 12>2 ?ail!ay )nspectorate report one of the first tyre failures. 1. #as-uin proposes a lo"*lo" relationship for SG cur$es. =alm"renHs '1.D2 Tatsuo Ando and M.[1] 12>1 . :offin and S. Aaton 0od"kinson is "ranted a small sum of money to report to the BC =arliament on his !ork in ascertaining by direct experiment.+1( • 1.• 12>/ 9illiam .ames Alfred A!in" demonstrates the ori"in of fati"ue failure in microscopic cracks.8+ 9.+1 Sir .

especially sur$i$al analysis and linear re"ression.0istorically. Analysis of fati"ue data re-uires techni-ues from statistics. S*G cur$es are deri$ed from tests on samples of the material to be characterised 'often called coupons( !here a re"ular sinusoidal stress is applied by a testin" machine !hich also counts the number of cycles to failure. the S*G cur$e should more properly be an S-N-P curve capturin" the probability of failure after a "i$en number of cycles of a certain stress. This process is sometimes kno!n as coupon testing. also kno!n as a Wöhler curve. Aach coupon test "enerates a point on the plot thou"h in some cases there is a runout !here the time to failure e%ceeds that a$ailable for the test 'see censorin"(. Probabilistic nature of fatigue As coupons sampled from a homo"eneous frame !ill manifest $ariation in their number of cycles to failure. most attention has focused on situations that re-uire more than 1+> cycles to failure !here stress is lo! and deformation primarily elastic. materials performance is commonly characterised by an S-N curve. The S-N curve )n hi"h*cycle fati"ue situations. This is a "raph of the ma"nitude of a cyclical stress 'S( a"ainst the lo"arithmic scale of cycles to failure 'N(. =robability distributions that are .

e%treme $alue distribution. #irnbaum*Saunders distribution.common in data analysis and in desi"n a"ainst fati"ue include the lo"normal distribution. and 9eibull distribution. .

each contributin" ni'Si( cycles. This can be thou"ht of as assessin" !hat proportion of life is consumed by stress re$ersal at each ma"nitude then formin" a linear combination of their a""re"ate. Miner popularised a rule that had first been proposed by A. Miner s rule )n 1. a mechanical part is e%posed to a comple%.>3. Bsually for desi"n purposes. lar"e and small. )t fails to reco"nise the probabilistic nature of fati"ue and there is no simple !ay to relate life predicted by the rule !ith the characteristics of a probability distribution. often random. M. calculate the de"ree of cumulati$e dama"e incurred from the S*G cur$e7 and >. failure occurs !hen : is e%perimentally found to be bet!een +. : is assumed to be 1. /. A. There is sometimes an effect in the order in !hich the re$ersals occur. 0i"h stress follo!ed by lo! stress may ha$e less dama"e due to the presence of compressi$e residual stress. $ariously called Miner s rule or the Palmgren-Miner linear damage hypothesis. it has t!o maJor limitations 1. Si '1 I i I !(. The rule.Complex loadings Spectrum loadin" )n practice. . =alm"ren in 1. then if Ni'Si( is the number of cycles to failure of a constant stress re$ersal Si. Thou"h MinerHs rule is a useful appro%imation in many circumstances./>. cycles of lo! stress follo!ed by hi"h stress cause more dama"e than !ould be predicted by the rule. se-uence of loads. For each stress le$el. :ombine the indi$idual contributions usin" an al"orithm such as Miner s rule. )n some circumstances./. )t does not consider the effect of o$erload or hi"h stress !hich may result in a compressi$e residual stress. :reate an histo"ram of cyclic stress from the rainflo! analysis7 1. ?educe the comple% loadin" to a series of simple cyclic loadin"s usin" a techni-ue such as rainflo! analysis7 2.8 and /. states that !here there are ! different stress ma"nitudes in a spectrum. )n order to assess the safe life of such a part 1.

Paris s !elationship Anderson. F.8 for metals in time independent fati"ue. Slopes can be considerably steeper in the presence of creep or en$ironmental interactions. in the denominator. stressMma% stress.31( *!here • • • • KNp M/ is the plastic strain amplitude7 NfH is an empirical constant kno!n as the fatigue ductility coefficient. "o#-cycle fatigue 9here the stress is hi"h enou"h for plastic deformation to occur. by introducin" a factor dependin" on '1*?( !here ? L min. :offin in 1. . commonly ran"in" from *+.D8[D]( to make better allo!ance for the mean stress. S.3> and S. Manson 1. @ome& and =aris[3] deri$ed relationships for the sta"e )) crack "ro!th !ith cycles G. 6o!*cycle fati"ue is usually characterised by the "offin-Manson relation 'published independently by 6. the failure strain for a sin"le re$ersal7 /N is the number of re$ersals to failure 'N cycles(7 c is an empirical constant kno!n as the fatigue ductility exponent. This relationship !as later modified 'by Forman. 1.3 to *+. the account in terms of stress is less useful and the strain in the material offers a simpler description. in terms of the cyclical component KC of the Stress )ntensity Factor C !here a is the crack len"th and m is typically in the ran"e 1 to 3 'for metals(.

Material Type$ Fati"ue life. !hate$er the mechanism used to produce the stress. :rack nucleation7 /. Sta"e ) crack*"ro!th7 1. For the latter purposes. cuttin". laser peenin" and ultrasonic impact treatment can also produce this surface compressi$e stress and can increase the fati"ue life of the component. shot peenin" to increase fati"ue life. mean stress. Bltimate ductile failure. in*phase or out*of*phase shear stress. Such techni-ues for producin" surface stress are often referred to as peening.Fatigue and fracture mechanics The account abo$e is purely phenomenolo"ical and. castin". Sta"e )) crack*"ro!th7 and >. it does not enable life impro$ement or desi"n optimisation. and load se-uence. e.". • • • • . thou"h it allo!s life prediction and desi"n assurance. fati"ue stren"th depends on the direction of the principal stress. !hich decreases the fati"ue stren"th. This impro$ement is normally obser$ed only for hi"h*cycle fati"ue. and other manufacturin" processes in$ol$in" heat or deformation can produce hi"h le$els of tensile residual stress. %eometry$ Gotches and $ariation in cross section throu"hout a part lead to stress concentrations !here fati"ue cracks initiate. 1. Such an e%planation is "i$en by fracture mechanics in four sta"es. bia%iality. such as stress amplitude. :ompressi$e residual stresses can be introduced in the surface by e. !esidual stresses$ 9eldin". Surface &uality$ Surface rou"hness cause microscopic stress concentrations that lo!er the fati"ue stren"th. as !ell as the beha$ior durin" cyclic loadin". non* metallic inclusions and shrinka"e $oids can si"nificantly reduce fati"ue stren"th.". Si'e and distribution of internal defects$ :astin" defects such as "as porosity. (irection of loading$ For non*isotropic materials. Factors that affect fatigue-life • • • Cyclic stress state$ Dependin" on the comple%ity of the "eometry and the loadin". one or more properties of the stress state need to be considered. an e%position of the causes and processes of fati"ue is necessary. composites and polymers differ markedly from metals. $aries !idely for different materials.

such as .[8] This is not recommended as a "eneral practice because the hole represents a stress concentration factor !hich depends on the si&e of the hole and "eometry. Temperature$ 0i"her temperatures "enerally decrease fati"ue stren"th. but the e%tra cost is amply repaid by their "reater inte"rity. )nstruct the user to inspect the part periodically for cracks and to replace the part once a crack e%ceeds a critical len"th. This approach usually uses the technolo"ies of nondestructi$e testin" and re-uires an accurate prediction of the rate of crack*"ro!th bet!een inspections. This is often referred to as dama"e tolerant desi"n or Oretirement* for*causeO. A similar ar"ument has been made for replacement of metal fusela"es. smaller "rains yield lon"er fati"ue li$es. !hich all affect fati"ue life. Se$eral disasters ha$e been caused by botched repairs to cracked structures. There are three principal approaches to life assurance for mechanical parts that display increasin" de"rees of sophistication 1. or "as*phase embrittlement. . For e%ample. but also much more resistant to fati"ue. Material change :han"es in the materials used in parts can also impro$e fati"ue life. or materials science. Thus helicopter rotor blades and propellers in metal are bein" replaced by composite e-ui$alents. :orrosion fati"ue is a problem encountered in many a""ressi$e en$ironments.• %rain si'e$ For most metals. • • (esign against fatigue Dependable desi"n a"ainst fati"ue*failure re-uires thorou"h education and super$ised e%perience in structural en"ineerin". )nvironment$ An$ironmental conditions can cause erosion. :omplete replacement and redesi"n of parts can also reduce if not eliminate fati"ue problems. Desi"n to keep stress belo! threshold of fati"ue limit 'infinite lifetime concept(7 /.A6 1/1. parts can be made from better fati"ue rated metals. They are not only li"hter. or Osafe*lifeO desi"n practice(7 1. !in"s and tails of aircraft. They are more e%pensi$e. since loss of a rotor blade usually leads to total loss of the aircraft. the presence of surface defects or scratches !ill ha$e a "reater influence than in a coarse "rained alloy. There is thus the possibility of a ne! crack startin" in the side of the hole. finite lifetime concept. )t is al!ays far better to replace the cracked part entirely. in the path of the fati"ue crack. Desi"n 'conser$ati$ely( for a fi%ed life after !hich the user is instructed to replace the part !ith a ne! one 'a so*called lifed part. called drill stops. ho!e$er. corrosion. Stopping fatigue Fati"ue cracks that ha$e be"un to propa"ate can sometimes be stopped by drillin" holes. mechanical en"ineerin".