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This article describes the phenomena of crack initiation and early growth. It examines specimen design and preparation as well as the apparatus used in crack initiation testing. The article provides descriptions of the various commercially available fatigue testing machines: axial fatigue testing machines and bending fatigue machines. Load cells, grips and alignment devices, extensometry and strain measuring devices, environmental chambers, graphic recorders, furnaces, and heating systems of ancillary equipment are discussed. The article presents technologies available to accomplish closed loop control of materials testing systems in performing standard materials tests and for the development of custom testing applications. It explores the advanced software tools for materials testing. The article includes a description of baseline isothermal fatigue testing, creep-fatigue interaction, and thermomechanical fatigue. The effects of various variables on fatigue resistance and guidelines for fatigue testing are also presented.

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