Often machine members subjected to repeated stressing are found to have failed even when the actual maximum stresses were below the ultimate strength of the material, and quite frequently at stress values even below the yield strength. The most distinguishing characteristics is that the failure had occurred only after the stresses have been repeated a very large number of times. Hence the failure is called fatigue failure
Metal fatigue and endurance are important concepts in the field of materials science and engineering, particularly in the study of mechanical behaviour and structural integrity of metals.
Metal Fatigue: Metal fatigue refers to the progressive and localised structural damage that occurs in a material subjected to cyclic loading or stress over time. When a metal is subjected to repeated loading and unloading cycles, it experiences microscopic deformations and stress concentrations that can lead to crack initiation and propagation. This process is known as fatigue crack growth. Fatigue failures are typically characterised by the following stages: Crack Initiation: Microscopic cracks form at locations of stress concentration, such as notches or surface defects. Crack Propagation: The cracks propagate through the material, usually in a direction perpendicular to the applied stress. Final Fracture: The crack grows until it reaches a critical length, causing sudden failure of the material. Factors that influence metal fatigue include the stress level, the number of cycles applied, the geometry of the component, and the material's properties, such as strength, ductility, and resistance to crack propagation. Engineers use various methods, such as fatigue testing and analysis, to predict and mitigate fatigue failure in metal components.
Endurance: Endurance, in the context of metal fatigue, refers to the ability of a material or component to withstand repeated loading and unloading cycles without failure. It is a measure of the material's fatigue strength or fatigue life.Metal Fatigue & Endurance
Stress concentration factors (SCFs) are used in engineering to quantify the increase in local stress at a geometric discontinuity or irregularity in a structure or component. These irregularities can include sharp corners, holes, notches, fillets, keyways, and changes in cross-sectional area. Stress concentration factors are essential in assessing the structural integrity and fatigue life of materials.
When a load is applied to a structure, the stress is distributed throughout the material. However, at locations where there is a change in geometry, the stress tends to concentrate, leading to higher stress levels than would occur in a uniform section. This localized stress concentration can result in the initiation and propagation of cracks, reducing the overall strength and durability of the structure.
The stress concentration factor depends on several factors, including the shape and size of the irregularity, the applied load, and the material properties. It is often determined through experimental testing, analytical calculations, or finite element analysis (FEA).Stress Concentration Factors
Fatigue loading refers to the application of cyclic or repeated loading to a material or structure, which can lead to fatigue failure over time. Fatigue loading is distinct from static loading, where a constant load is applied to a structure without cycling.
The process of fatigue loading involves the following stages:
Cyclic Loading: A material or structure is subjected to cyclic loading, which involves the application and removal of stress or strain cycles. Each cycle consists of a loading phase and an unloading phase.
Microscopic Deformations: During each loading cycle, microscopic deformations occur within the material. These deformations can lead to the development of microscopic cracks, even if the applied stress is below the yield strength of the material.
Crack Initiation: At locations of stress concentration, such as surface defects, notches, or material discontinuities, cracks can initiate and propagate. These cracks are typically small and not easily detectable.
Crack Propagation: Once a crack initiates, it tends to propagate through the material with each subsequent loading cycle. The crack growth rate depends on factors such as stress level, material properties, and environmental conditions.
Final Failure: The fatigue process continues until the crack reaches a critical length, at which point the structure or component experiences sudden fracture or failure.
Fatigue loading can significantly reduce the fatigue life of a material compared to its static strength. It is influenced by various factors, including stress amplitude, mean stress, load frequency, material properties (such as fatigue strength and endurance limit), surface conditions, and environmental factors (such as temperature and corrosion).Fatigue Loading
Factors influencing fatigue and endurance include material properties (such as strength, hardness, ductility, and microstructure), stress level, load type (tension, compression, bending), frequency of loading cycles, surface conditions, and environmental factors (such as temperature, humidity, and corrosive environments). These factors affect the initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks, ultimately leading to failure.
Fatigue Strength: Fatigue strength, also known as fatigue limit or fatigue resistance, is the maximum stress level a material can withstand for a specific number of cycles before fatigue failure occurs. It represents the stress amplitude below which a material has an infinite fatigue life. Fatigue strength is typically determined through fatigue testing, where specimens are subjected to cyclic loading until failure at a specific number of cycles (e.g., 10^6 cycles). The higher the fatigue strength, the more resistant the material is to fatigue failure.
Endurance Limit: The endurance limit, also referred to as the fatigue limit in some contexts, is the stress level below which a material can theoretically withstand an infinite number of cycles without fatigue failure. It is the stress amplitude at which the material exhibits an "infinite life" and does not experience fatigue damage over time. However, not all materials exhibit a well-defined endurance limit. Some materials, particularly non-ferrous metals and alloys, do not have a clear point where the fatigue strength becomes independent of the number of cycles.Fatigue & Endurance Factors
Fatigue life refers to the total number of cycles a material or structure can withstand under cyclic loading before it experiences fatigue failure. It represents the endurance or durability of a material when subjected to repeated loading and unloading cycles.
Fatigue failure occurs due to the accumulation of damage caused by cyclic loading, even when the applied stress is below the material's ultimate tensile strength. The process of fatigue failure involves the initiation and propagation of cracks within the material, which can eventually lead to catastrophic failure.
The fatigue life of a material is influenced by various factors, including:
Applied Stress: The stress amplitude or range applied to the material during each loading cycle is a critical factor affecting fatigue life. Higher stress amplitudes typically result in shorter fatigue lives.
Mean Stress: The average stress level, known as the mean stress, also influences fatigue life. Materials subjected to fluctuating stresses with a non-zero mean stress generally have shorter fatigue lives compared to those with zero mean stress.
Load Spectrum: The specific pattern or sequence of applied loads, known as the load spectrum, affects fatigue life. Different load spectra, such as constant amplitude, variable amplitude, or random loading, can significantly impact the fatigue behavior of a material.
Material Properties: The material's properties, such as its fatigue strength, endurance limit, hardness, ductility, and microstructure, play a crucial role in determining fatigue life. Materials with higher fatigue strength or an endurance limit tend to exhibit longer fatigue lives.
Surface Conditions: Surface roughness, residual stresses, and the presence of notches or defects can promote stress concentration and accelerate fatigue crack initiation, thus reducing fatigue life.
Environmental Factors: Environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and corrosive agents, can significantly affect fatigue life. Some materials are more prone to environmental degradation, leading to reduced fatigue resistance.Fatigue Life
Fatigue resistance refers to the ability of a material to withstand cyclic loading without experiencing fatigue failure. It is a measure of the material's ability to resist the initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks under repeated loading and unloading cycles.
The fatigue resistance of a material depends on several factors, including:
Fatigue Strength: The fatigue strength or fatigue limit of a material is a crucial indicator of its fatigue resistance. It represents the maximum stress level the material can withstand for a specific number of cycles without failure. Materials with higher fatigue strength generally exhibit greater fatigue resistance.
Endurance Limit: The endurance limit, if present, is the stress level below which a material can theoretically withstand an infinite number of cycles without fatigue failure. Materials with a well-defined endurance limit usually have higher fatigue resistance.
Material Properties: Various material properties influence fatigue resistance. These include strength, ductility, hardness, microstructure, and the presence of defects or impurities. Materials with a fine-grained microstructure, high ductility, and high hardness tend to exhibit better fatigue resistance.
Surface Conditions: Surface conditions, such as surface roughness, residual stresses, and the presence of notches or surface defects, can significantly affect fatigue resistance. A smooth surface with minimal defects promotes better fatigue resistance.
Environmental Factors: Environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and corrosive agents, can affect fatigue resistance. Some materials may exhibit reduced fatigue resistance in aggressive environments.
Loading Conditions: The type and magnitude of cyclic loading, such as tension, compression, bending, or torsion, influence fatigue resistance. Different loading conditions can have varying effects on the initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks.Fatigue Resistance
Impact loading refers to the sudden application of a high-intensity load or force to a structure or material over a very short duration. Unlike cyclic loading in fatigue, impact loading involves a single, rapid application of load instead of repeated loading cycles. However, it is important to note that impact loading can still induce fatigue-like behavior in materials, known as impact fatigue.
When a material or structure is subjected to impact loading, it experiences high stress levels over a short period of time, causing rapid deformation and energy dissipation. This sudden loading can result in various dynamic responses, such as plastic deformation, elastic deformation, fracture, or failure. The impact event can induce local stress concentrations, shock waves, and vibrations that can lead to crack initiation and propagation, similar to the mechanisms observed in fatigue loading.
Impact fatigue refers to the progressive accumulation of damage and deterioration in a material due to repeated impact loading. Although the loading is not cyclic, the repeated impacts can initiate and propagate cracks, ultimately leading to failure over time. The severity and rate of impact fatigue depend on factors such as the intensity of the impact, the material's properties, the loading frequency, and the presence of stress concentration points.
To assess the impact fatigue behavior of materials, perform impact tests, such as Charpy or Izod tests, to measure the material's toughness and resistance to sudden loading. These tests involve striking a notched specimen with a pendulum or a falling weight to simulate an impact event.Impact Loading (Fatigue)
High cycle fatigue (HCF) refers to the phenomenon of fatigue failure that occurs at high numbers of loading cycles (typically greater than 104 cycles). High cycle fatigue strength, also known as the fatigue limit or fatigue strength at a high number of cycles, is the stress level below which a material can theoretically withstand an infinite number of cycles without experiencing fatigue failure.
Unlike low cycle fatigue (LCF), which is characterized by a relatively small number of loading cycles and high stress amplitudes, HCF is associated with lower stress amplitudes but a significantly higher number of cycles. In the HCF regime, the fatigue failure is driven primarily by microstructural changes, such as crack initiation and propagation, rather than plastic deformation.
The concept of fatigue strength at high cycles is closely related to the endurance limit mentioned earlier. However, unlike materials that exhibit a well-defined endurance limit, many materials do not have a distinct fatigue limit in the HCF regime. Instead, their fatigue strength decreases with increasing stress levels, following a slope on the S-N curve (stress-number of cycles curve).
To determine the HCF strength of a material, fatigue testing is typically performed under controlled conditions. Specimens are subjected to cyclic loading at different stress levels, and the number of cycles to failure is recorded. The data obtained from multiple tests can then be used to construct an S-N curve for the material, which shows the relationship between the applied stress level and the number of cycles to failure.
The HCF strength of a material is influenced by various factors, including material properties (such as strength, microstructure, and fatigue resistance), surface conditions, environmental factors (such as temperature and corrosion), loading frequency, and stress ratio (the ratio of minimum stress to maximum stress in each cycle).High Cycle Fatigue Strength