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Fatigue crack initiation is an important aspect of materials performance in design. This article summarizes some fundamental concepts and procedures for the fatigue life prediction of relatively homogeneous, wrought metals when a major portion of total life is exhausted in crack initiation. It presents an overview of the strain-based, as opposed to stress-based, criterion of material behavior and fatigue analysis. The article describes the cyclic stress-strain behavior of metals to illustrate the inadequacy of the monotonic or tensile stress-strain curve in accounting for material instabilities caused by cyclic deformations. It discusses the effect of mean stress on fatigue life and presents the analysis of cumulative fatigue damage. The article concludes with examples of application techniques for fatigue life prediction.

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