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Fatigue failures may occur in components subjected to fluctuating (time-dependent) loading as a result of progressive localized permanent damage described by the stages of crack initiation, cyclic crack propagation, and subsequent final fracture after a given number of load fluctuations. This article begins with an overview of fatigue properties and design life. This is followed by a description of the two approaches to fatigue, namely infinite-life criterion and finite-life criterion, along with information on damage tolerance criterion. The article then discusses the characteristics of fatigue fractures followed by a discussion on the effects of loading and stress distribution, and material condition on the microstructure of the material. In addition, general prevention and characteristics of corrosion fatigue, contact fatigue, and thermal fatigue are also presented.

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