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This article provides information on the typical experimental observations of formation and propagation of small fatigue cracks under various stress states and explores the relation to long crack fracture mixed-mode fracture mechanics. It discusses state I crystallographic and stage II normal stress-dominated growth, along with some observations regarding the influence of combined stress state on the propagation of small cracks. The article discusses the differences between low-cycle fatigue and high-cycle fatigue (HCF) behaviors. Several other features of multiaxial fatigue are also explained, including mean stress effects, sequences of stress/strain amplitude or stress state, nonproportional loading and cycle counting, and HCF fatigue limits. In addition, the article covers the formation and propagation of cracks on the order of several grain sizes in diameter in initially isotropic and ductile structural alloys.

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