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This chapter presents a fracture-mechanics-based approach to damage tolerance, accounting for mechanical, metallurgical, and environmental factors that drive crack development and growth. It begins with a review of stress-intensity factors corresponding to a wide range of crack geometries, specimen configurations, and loading conditions. The discussion covers two- and three-dimensional cracks as well as the use of correction factors and problem-simplification techniques for dealing with nonstandard configurations. The chapter goes on to describe how fatigue loading affects crack growth rates in each of the three stages of progression. Using images, diagrams, and data plots, it reveals how cracks advance in step with successive stress cycles and explains how fatigue crack growth rates can be determined by examining striations on fracture specimens and correlating their widths with stress profiles. It also describes how material-related factors, load history, corrosion, and temperature affect crack growth rates, and discusses the steps involved in life assessment.

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