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This chapter provides a quantitative treatment of the cracking mechanisms associated with fatigue, drawing on the principles of fracture mechanics. It explains that although fracture mechanics originated with the aim of understanding sudden and catastrophic crack extension, the main premise of a stress field in the vicinity of the crack also applies to the study of cycle-by-cycle stable crack growth. A detailed review is given of the many developments and discoveries that helped shape the theory and methods collectively defined as crack mechanics, which the authors then employ to analyze the crack growth behavior of various materials, including steels...

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