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The separation of the fatigue process into crack initiation and propagation phases has been an important and useful advance in engineering. The combined approach of strain-control testing and the development fracture mechanics of fatigue crack growth rates is a key advance that allows better understanding and simulation of both crack nucleation and the subsequent crack growth mechanisms. This article reviews three basic types of fatigue properties: stress-life, strain life, and fracture mechanic crack growth.

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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