Chapter 4: Mean Stress
This chapter discusses the concept of mean stress and explains how it is used in fatigue analysis and design. It begins by examining the stress-strain response of test samples subjected to cyclic forces and strains, noting important features and what they reveal about materials and their fatigue behaviors. It then discusses the challenge of developing hysteresis loops for complex loading patterns and accounting for effects such as ratcheting and stress relaxation. The sections that follow provide a summary of the various ways mean stress is described in the literature and the methods used to calculate or predict its effect on the fatigue life of machine components. The discussion also sheds light on why tensile mean stress is detrimental to both fatigue life and ductility, while compressive mean stress is highly beneficial.