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In the design of composite structures for durability and damage tolerance, the primary concerns are out-of-plane failures, such as delamination, material degradation associated with environment, stability under compression loading, large degree of scatter in fatigue life, and bearing failure of joints. This article presents introductory discussion on fatigue damage process, methodologies assessing fatigue behavior, and life prediction models. It describes the damage mechanisms introduced for a quasi-isotropic laminate under tension-compression fatigue loading. Delamination is a critical issue in fatigue and generally results from high interlaminar normal and shear stresses. The article schematically illustrates the structural elements in which high interlaminar stresses are common. It concludes with a discussion on the classification of fatigue models, such as mechanistic or phenomenological, for composite materials under cyclic loading.

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