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Unlike metals, in which fatigue failures are due to a single crack that grows to a critical length, the effects of fatigue in composites are much more distributed and varied. As the chapter explains, there are five major damage mechanisms that contribute to the progression of composite fatigue, those being matrix cracking, fiber breaking, crack coupling, delamination initiation, and delamination growth. The chapter describes each mechanism in detail along with related factors. It also discusses the primary differences between composites and metals, the effect of manufacturing defects, damage tolerance, and testing and certification.

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