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This chapter examines the stress-strain characteristics of metals and alloys subjected to cyclic loading and the cumulative effects of fatigue. It begins by explaining how a single load reversal can lower the yield stress of a material and how repeated reversals can cause strain hardening and softening, both of which lead to premature failure. It then discusses the stages of fatigue fracture, using detailed images to show how cracks initiate and grow and how they leave telltale marks on fracture surfaces. It goes on to describe fatigue life assessment methods and demonstrate their use on different metals and alloys. The chapter also discusses design-based approaches for preventing fatigue failures.

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