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Metal Fatigue

Adarsh Kumar
M.Tech CAD/CAM
13MCD1065
VIT University

Materials Tetrahedron
Processing
Performance

Microstructure

Properties

sa := Alternating stress
sm :=
Mean stress

Notation

R := Stress ratio
e :=
strain
Nf := number of cycles to failure
A := Amplitude ratio
epl :=
Plastic strain amplitude
eel :=
Elastic strain amplitude
K := Proportionality constant, cyclic stress-strain
n := Exponent in cyclic stress-strain
c :=
Exponent in Coffin-Manson Eq.;
also, crack length
E :=
Youngs modulus
b :=
exponent in Basquin Eq.
m :=
exponent in Paris Law
K :=
Stress intensity
K := Stress intensity amplitude
a :=
crack length
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Fatigue
Fatigue is the name given to failure in response

to alternating loads (as opposed to monotonic


straining).
Instead of measuring the resistance to fatigue
failure through an upper limit to strain (as in
ductility), the typical measure of fatigue
resistance is expressed in terms of numbers of
cycles to failure. For a given number of cycles
(required in an application), sometimes the
stress (that can be safely endured by the
material) is specified.
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Fatigue: general characteristics


Primary design criterion in rotating parts.

Fatigue as a name for the phenomenon based on

the notion of a material becoming tired, i.e.


failing at less than its nominal strength.
Cyclical strain (stress) leads to fatigue failure.
Occurs in metals and polymers but rarely in
ceramics.
Also an issue for static parts, e.g. bridges.
Cyclic loading stress limit<static stress capability.

Fatigue: general characteristics


Most applications of structural materials involve

cyclic loading; any net tensile stress leads to


fatigue.
Fatigue failure surfaces have three characteristic
features:
A (near-)surface defect as the origin of the crack
Striations corresponding to slow, intermittent crack

growth
Dull, fibrous brittle fracture surface (rapid growth).
Life of structural components generally limited by

cyclic loading, not static strength.


Most environmental factors shorten life.

S-N Curves
S-N [stress-number of cycles to failure] curve defines

locus of cycles-to-failure for given cyclic stress.


Rotating-beam fatigue test is standard; also
alternating tension-compression.
Plot stress versus the
log(number of cycles
to failure), log(Nf).
For frequencies < 200Hz,
metals are insensitive to
frequency; fatigue life in
polymers is frequency
dependent.
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[Hertzberg]

Fatigue testing, S-N curve


sa

smean 3 > smean 2 > smean 1

smean 1
smean 2
smean 3

The greater the number of


cycles in the loading history,
the smaller the stress that
the material can withstand
without failure.

log Nf

Note the presence of a


fatigue limit in many
steels and its absence
in aluminum alloys.
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[Dieter]

Endurance Limits
Some materials exhibit endurance limits, i.e. a

stress below which the life is infinite:


Steels typically show an endurance limit, = 40% of

yield; this is typically associated with the presence


of a solute (carbon, nitrogen) that pines dislocations
and prevents dislocation motion at small
displacements or strains (which is apparent in an
upper yield point).
Aluminum alloys do not show endurance limits; this
is related to the absence of dislocation-pinning
solutes.
At large Nf, the lifetime is dominated by

nucleation.

Therefore strengthening the surface (shot peening)

is beneficial to delay crack nucleation and extend

Fatigue fracture
surface

[Hertzberg]
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Fatigue crack stages


Stage 1

Stage 2

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[Dieter]

Fatigue Crack Propagation


Crack Nucleation stress intensification at crack

tip.
Stress intensity crack propagation (growth);
- stage I growth on shear planes (45),
strong influence of microstructure
- stage II growth normal to tensile load (90)
weak influence of microstructure .
Crack propagation catastrophic, or ductile
failure at crack length dependent on boundary
conditions, fracture toughness.
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Fatigue Crack Nucleation


Flaws, cracks, voids can all act as crack

nucleation sites, especially at the surface.


Therefore, smooth surfaces increase the time to
nucleation; notches, stress risers decrease
fatigue life.
Dislocation activity (slip) can also nucleate fatigue
cracks.

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Dislocation Slip

Crack Nucleation

Dislocation slip -> tendency to localize slip in

bands.
Persistent Slip Bands (PSBs) characteristic of
cyclic strains.
Slip Bands -> extrusion at free surface.
Extrusions -> intrusions and crack nucleation.

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Definitions: Stress Ratios


Alternating Stress
Mean stress

sa

sm = (smax +smin)/2.

Pure sine wave Mean stress=0.


Stress ratio R =
For

sm = 0, R=-1

smax/smin.

Amplitude ratio A = (1-R)/(1+R).


Statistical approach shows significant

distribution in Nf for given stress.


See Courtney fig. 12.6; also following slide.

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Fatigue Crack Propagation


Crack Length := a.

Number of cycles := N
Crack Growth Rate := da/dN
Amplitude of Stress Intensity := K = sc.
Define three stages of crack growth, I, II and III,
in a plot of da/dN versus K.
Stage II crack growth: application of linear elastic fracture
mechanics.
Can consider the crack growth rate to be related to the applied
stress intensity.
Crack growth rate somewhat insensitive to R (if R<0) in Stage II
[fig. 12.16, 12.18b]

Environmental effects can be dramatic, e.g. H in Fe, in

increasing crack growth rates.


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Fatigue Crack Propagation


Three stages of crack

growth, I, II and III.


Stage I: transition to a
finite crack growth rate
from no propagation
below a threshold value
of K.
Stage II: power law
dependence of crack
growth rate on K.
Stage III: acceleration of
growth rate with K,
approaching
catastrophic fracture.

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da/dN
I

II

Kc

III

Kth

Microstructure affects Crack


Nucleation
The main effect of

microstructure (defects,
surface treatment, etc.)
is almost all in the low
stress intensity regime,
i.e. Stage I. Defects, for
example, make it easier
to nucleate a crack,
which translates into a
lower threshold for
crack propagation
(Kth).
Microstructure also
affects fracture
toughness and
therefore Stage III.
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da/dN
I

II

Kc

III

Kth

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