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Chapter 6 Fatigue Failure

All machine and structural designs are problems in fatigue

because the forces of Nature are always at work and each object
must respond in some fashion.


• Fatigue failure is the fracture of a structural member due to

repeated cycles of loading or fluctuating loading.

• Fatigues is the single largest cause of failure in metals,

estimated to be the cause of 90% of all metallic failures.

• Fatigue failure are catastrophic and insidious, occurring

suddenly and often without warning. Static loading provides
ffi i t time
ti for
f deflection.
d fl ti

• The fatigue failure occurs at relatively low stress levels to

a component or structure subjected to fluctuating or cyclic

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• Fatigue is a complex phenomenon, and no universal theories

to describe the behavior of materials subjected to cyclic
loadings exist; instead, there are a large number of theories to
describe the behavior of particular materials.
• Most of the engineering design experience in fatigue is based
on an experimental understanding of the behavior of carbon
steels. Much effort has been directed toward extending these
semi-empirical rules to other ferrous and nonferrous metals, as
well as ceramics,
ceramics polymers,
polymers and composite materials.
• For the most part, fatigue involves the accumulation of
damage within a material. Damage usually consists of cracks
that can grow by a small distance with each stress cycle.


• Experiments have found that fatigue cracks generally begin at

a surface and propagate through the bulk. Therefore, much
attention is paid the quality of surfaces in fatigue-susceptible
machine elements.
• Fatigue cracks begin at several sites simultaneously and
propagate when one flaw becomes dominant and grows more
rapidly than others.
• Fatigue testing is imperative to confirm safe mechanical

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Stages of Fatigue Life

Schematics of Fatigue Life

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Examples of Fatigue Failure

Pure tension with no

stress concentration

Summary of Fatigue Failure

‰ Thus far we’ve studied STATIC FAILURE of machine elements.

‰ The second major class of component failure is due to DYNAMIC
ƒ Repeated stresses
ƒ Alternating stresses
ƒ Fluctuating stresses
‰ The ultimate strength of a material (Su) is the maximum stress a material
can sustain before failure assuming the load is applied only once and
‰ Fatigue
i strengthh Resistance
i off a material
i l to failure
f il under
d cyclic
li lloading.
‰ A material can also FAIL by being loaded repeatedly to a stress level that
is LESS than (Su)
ƒ Fatigue failure

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Approach to Analysis Fatigue-Life

‰ Fatigue-Life Methods
‰ Fatigue Strength and the Endurance Limit
‰ Endurance Limit Modifying Factors
‰ Stress Concentration and Notch Sensitivity
‰ Fluctuating Stresses
‰ Combinations of Loading Modes
‰ Varying, Fluctuating Stresses; Cumulative Fatigue Damage

Fatigue-Life Methods

Three major fatigue life methods used in

design and analysis for safe life

1. Stress life method (S-N Curves)

2 Strain life method (ε-N
(ε N Curve)

3. Linear elastic fracture mechanics


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Fatigue Regimes


Finite Life Infinite Life

C l High-Cycle
i hC l
Fatigue Fatigue
1 ≤ N ≤ 103 cycles N > 103 cycles

Stress-Life Methods

‰ based on stress levels only

‰ It is the least accurate approach, especially for
low-cycle applications.
‰ Most traditional method:
• It is the easiest to implement for a wide range of
design applications
• It has ample supporting data
• It represents high-cycle applications adequately

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Strain-Life Methods

‰ Based on strain amplitude

‰ Involves more detailed analysis of the

plastic deformation at localized regions
where the stresses and strains are
considered for life estimates.

‰ Good
G d for
f low-cycle fatigue
f i applications.
li i

‰ Some uncertainties exist in the results.

Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanism

‰ Assumes a crack is already present and


‰ Predicts crack growth with respect to

stress intensity.

‰ Most practical when applied to large

structures in conjunction with computer
codes and a periodic inspection program.

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Stress-Life Methods

To determine the strength of materials under the action of fatigue loads, specimens are
subjected to repeated or varying forces of specified magnitudes while the cycles or stress
reversals are counted to destruction. The most widelyy used fatigue-testing
g g device is the R.
R. Moore high-speed rotating-beam machine. The specimen is very carefully machined and
polished, with a final polishing in an axial Direction to avoid circumferential scratches.

Figure: Test-specimen geometry for

the R. R. Moore rotating-
beam machine. The bending
moment is uniform over the
curved at the highest stressed
portion, a valid test of
material, whereas a fracture
elsewhere (not at the highest-
stress level) is grounds for suspicion
of material flaw.

Fatigue Test Machine

R. R. Moore rotating-beam fatigue testing machine

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Fatigue Test (Ferrous Metals and Alloys)

With an endurance limit!

Fatigue Test (Aluminum Alloys)

Without an endurance limit!

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Fatigue Strength of Polymer

Figure 7.7 Fatigue strengths as a function of number of loading

cycles. (c) Selected properties of assorted polymer classes.

S-N Diagram Under Cyclic Stress

Cyclic stress is a function of time, but the variation is

such that the stress sequence repeats itself

Nc=1 Nc=1/2

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Strain-Life: Hysteresis under Cyclic Load

Diagram of Reversals to Failure

Fatigue Ductility
coefficient (N=1)

g Strengthg
coefficient (N=1)
Slope of plastic
strain line

Slope of elastic
strain line

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Strain Life Theory
Manson-Coffin Relationship

Strain (Crack)

Elastic Plastic

Total strain Fatigue ductility

∆ε σ

( ) ( )
2 N ' + ε 'f 2 N '
f c exponent

Stress at fracture
(one cycle) Fatigue ductility Number of
Fatigue strength
coefficient cycle

Cyclic Properties of Metals

b c

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Limitation of Strain Life Theory
Strain-life theory gives insight into important properties in
fatigue strength determination: as long as there is a cyclic
plastic strain, no matter how small, eventually there will be
f il
Strain (Crack)

Elastic Plastic

∆ε σ f

( )
2 N ' + ε 'f 2 N ' ( ) α

• Total Strain at failure is the difficult to determine

• Strain concentration factors are nowhere

Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics

R i A
Regime A: slow
l crackk growth. th It is
i strongly
t l affected
ff t d by
b material
t i l microstructure,
i t t
environment effects, and stress ratio Rs.
Regime B (Paris Regime): related to micro-structure, mechanical load variables,
and environment.
Regime C: high growth rate. micro-structural effects and loadings, cleavage

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Crack Growth

∆K I = β (σ max − σ min ) πa = β ∆σ πa

Initial crack length

Crack Growth

= (∆K I )

Nf 1 af da
dN =N f =
C ∫a
β∆σ πa )

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Fatigue Strength
1725 rpm
106 cycle -1.5day
108 cycle -40day

The fatigue is affected by

• Stress concentration
• Residual stress
• Surface roughness
• Environment (temperature and corrosion)

Fatigue Test: Best-Case-Scenario

Endurance Limit

 0.5Sut Sut ≤ 200kpsi(1400MPa)

Se' =  100kpsi Sut > 200kpsi
700MPa Sut > 1400MPa

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S-N Equation under Given Failure Stress σ 'F

Basic S-N Eq.

(S )
f N = σ F' (2 N )

True Failure stress

σ F' = σ 0ε m or for H B < 500
σ F' = Sut + 50kpsi / 345MPa

For exponent b
log σ F' / S e' )
log(2 N e )

For N=103
(S )
f 103 (
= σ F' 2 ⋅103 = fS ut )

σ F'
f =
S ut
(2 ⋅10 ) 3 b

S-N Equation under Given Fatigue Strength Fraction f

Fraction f:
See plot for 70 ≤ Sut ≤ 200kpsi
for S ut < 70kpsi f = 0.9

S-N Eq.
S f = aN b

For a and b
( fSut )2 ; b = − 1 log fSut 
Se 3  S 
 e 

For N
1/ b
σ 
N =  rev 
 a 

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Fatigue Strength Example

A steel rotating beam test specimen has an ultimate strength

of 120 kpsi. Estimate the life of the specimen if it is tested at
a completely reversed stress amplitude of 70 kpsi.

 0.5S ut S ut ≤ 200kpsi( 1400MPa )

Se' =  100kpsi Sut > 200kpsi
700MPa Sut > 1400MPa

Fatigue Example

A shaft in bending is made of AISI steel. It has a

tensile strength of 95 ksi and yield strength of 74
k i Estimate
ksi. E ti t ((a)) endurance
d li
it (b) ffatigue
3 4 5 6
strength for 10 , 10 , 10 and 10 cycles of life

 0.5S ut S ut ≤ 200kpsi( 1400MPa )

Se' =  100kpsi Sut > 200kpsi
700MPa Sut > 1400MPa

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High-Cycle Fatigue Example

The pressure vessel lids of nuclear power plants

g ppressure
are bolted down to seal the high
exerted by the pressured water. The ultimate
strength is 157 kpsi. Find

(1) how low the stress has to be for a life of

10,000 cycles;
(2) A 5% decrease in this stress would give how
many cycles of life.

High-Cycle Fatigue Example

The maximum compressive stress in the jack is 190 MPa when the car
is jacked up so high that both wheels on one side of the car are in the air
and the load on the jack is 8000 NN. How many times can the jack be
used for a small truck that weighs 6 tons and loads the jack to 17,000 N
before it fails from fatigue? The jack material is AISI 1080 steel.

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Fatigue Strength under Low Cycle
Fraction f:
See plot for 70 ≤ Sut ≤ 200kpsi
for Sut < 70kpsi f = 0.9

S-N Eq.
S f = aN b

For a and b
a = Sut ; b = log( f )

For S-N
log f
3  Sf 
S f = Sut N 3
,N = log 
log f  Sut 

Endurance Limit Modifying Factors

Fatigue experiments assume that the best circumstances
exist for promoting long fatigue lives. However, this
situation cannot be quarantined for design applications.
Component’s endurance limit must be modified.
S e = k a kb kc k d ke k f S e'
S e' = endurance limit from experimental apparatus
ka = surface finish factor
kb = size factor
kc = load modification factor
kd = temperature modification factor Besides Stress
ke = reliability factor Concentration
kf = miscellaneous factor Effect….

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Surface Finish Factor

S e = k a kb kc k d ke k f S e'

k a = aS utb

Example: A steel has a minimum ultimate strength of 520

MPa and a machined surface. Estimate ka.

Size Factor kb

S e = k a kb kc k d ke k f S e'

For bending and torsion:

0.869d −0.107 0.11 in < d < 2 in

 − 0.157
 0.91d 2 in < d < 10 in
kb =  − 0.107
 1.24d 2.79 < d < 51mm
 1.51d −0.157 51 < d < 254mm
For axial loading:
kb = 1

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Equivalent Diameter for Size Factor kb
Equivalent diameter de: equating the volume of material
stressed at any above 95 percent of the maximum stress to
the same volume in the rotating-beam specimen.

For rotation round

For rectangle
A0.95σ = d − (0.95d )
2 2
) cross-section,
= 0.0766d 2 For non-rotation A0.95σ = 0.05hb
round cross-section, de =
= 0.808 hb
A0.95σ = 0.01046d 2

d e = 0.370d

Equivalent Diameter for Size Factor kb

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Loading Factor kc

S e = k a kb kc k d ke k f S e'

 1 Bending

kc = 0.85 Axial
0.59 Torsion

Temperature Factor kd

S e = k a kb kc k d ke k f S e'

( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
k d = 0.975 + 0.432 10 −3 TF − 0.115 10 −5 TF2 + 0.104 10 −8 TF3 − 0.595 10 −12 TF4
70 ≤ TF ≤ 1000o F

kd can be applied to St or Se.

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Reliability Factor ke

S e = k a kb kc k d ke k f S e'

ke = 1− 0.08 z a

Miscellaneous Effects

S e = k a kb kc k d ke k f S e'

Figure: The use of shot peening to improve fatigue properties. (a) Fatigue
strength at two million cycles for high strength steel as a function of
ultimate strength; (b) typical S-N curves for nonferrous metals.

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Fatigue Stress Concentration Bending/Axial Load
endurance limit for notched specimen
Kf =
endurance limit for notch free specimen
K f is fatigue stress concentration factor

Notch sensitivity
K f −1
Kt −1
Fatigue stress
concentration factor
K f = 1 + q (K t − 1)

Concentrated stress

Neuber equation : q =
1 σ max = K f σ 0
1+ a / r
Neuber constant : ( ) ( ) (
a = 0.246 − 3.08 10 −3 S ut + 1.51 10 −5 S ut2 − 2.67 10 −8 Sut3 ) Sut − kpsi

Fatigue Stress Concentration Torsion Load

endurance limit for notched specimen
Kf =
endurance limit for notch free specimen
K f is fatigue stress concentration factor

Notch sensitivity
K fs − 1
qshear =
K ts − 1
Fatigue stress
concentration factor
K fs = 1 + qshear (K ts − 1)

Concentrated stress
τ max = K fsτ 0
Neuber equation : q =
1+ a / r
Neuber constant : ( ) ( ) ( )
a = 0.190 − 2.51 10 −3 Sut + 1.35 10 −5 S ut2 − 2.67 10 −8 S ut3 S ut − kpsi

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Fatigue Stress Concentration Example

The rotating shaft is machined and subjected to F=6 kN. Find

the minimum factor of safety for fatigue based on infinite
life. If the life is not infinite, estimate the number of cycles.
Check for yielding as well.

Fatigue Stress Concentration Example

The driveshaft for a Formula One racing car has a diameter of

30mm and a half-circular notch with a 1-mm radius. The shaft
was dimensioned for equal shear and bending stresses. The
shaft material has an ultimate tensile strength of 965 MPa.
Assume the equivalent stress is proportional to σ e = σ 2 + 3τ 2

Determine the fatigue stress concentration factors for bending

and torsion of the driveshaft.
driveshaft Also,
Also determine if increased
acceleration or increased curve handling will give the higher
risk of driveshaft failure.

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Modified Endurance Limit Example

The bar is machine-made of low-carbon steel

(AISI 1020). Find the fatigue at 104 cycle for
the notched and un-notched bars.

Tensile loaded bar. (a) Un-notched; (b) notched.

Characterizing Fluctuating Stresses

Mean σ + σ min
σ = max
stress m 2

S σ r = σ max − σ min

Stress σ σ − σ min
σ a = r = max
amplitude 2 2
Common cyclic patterns
Stress σ
Rs = min
ratio σ max 1. Completely reversed (σ = 0, R = −1, A = ∞)
m s a

2. Nonzero mean (σ ≠ 0)

3. Released tension (σ = 0, R = 0, A = 1)
Amplitude σ 1 − Rs 4.
min s

Released compression (σ = 0, R = ∞, A = −1)


ratio Aa = a = max s a

σ m 1 + Rs

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Cyclic Stress Example

A tuning fork is hit with a pencil and starts to vibrate with a

frequency of 440 Hz. The maximum bending stress in the
tuning fork is 2 MPa at the end positions.
• Calculate the mean stress, the range of stress, the stress
amplitude, the stress ratio, and the amplitude ratio.

• Calculate how much stress the tuning fork can sustain

without being plastically deformed if it is made of AISI
1080 steel.

Fatigue Failure Criteria for Fluctuating Stress

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Fatigue Failure Criteria for Fluctuating Stress

Failure Criteria Under Fluctuating Stress

σa σm 1
Soderberg Line Se

Goodman Line σa σm 1
+ =
Se Sut n
nσ a  nσ m  1
Gerber Line +  =
S e  S ut  n

2 2
 nσ   nσ  1
ASME-Elliptic  a  +  m  =
 
 Se   S y  n

Langer static yield σa +σm =

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Safety Factor under Fluctuating Stress

Goodman Failure Example

The bar is made of cold-drawn1040 steel. The cyclic non-

zero axial load varies from -100 kN to 290 kN. Using
G d
Goodman failure
f il theory
th to
t determine
d t i the
th safety
f t factor
f t


60mm 40mm

Thickness =40mm

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Goodman Line Example I
A straight, circular rotating beam with a 30-mm diameter and 1-m
length has an axial load of 30,000N applied at the end and a
stationary radial load of 400N. The material is AISI 1040 steel,
=0 75, kb=kc=kd=ke=kf=1. =1 Find the safety factor for infinite life
by using the Goodman line.

Goodman Line
σa σm 1
+ =
Se Sut n

Goodman Diagram Example II

The cantilever shown in sketch j carries a downward load F that varies
from 300 to 700 lbs. (a) Compute the resulting safety factor for static and
fatigue failure if the bar is made from AISI 1040 steel. (b) What fillet
radius is needed for a fatigue failure safety factor of 3.0 (use the constant
notch sensitivity)?

Notes: This solution assumes that the shoulder is machined, but it may be
reasonable to use a ground surface if the application is critical.

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Fatigue Failure of Brittle Material

The fatigue for a brittle material differs markedly

from that of a ductile material because
• Yieldingg is not involved
• Suc>Sut
• No enough work down on brittle failure

Sa 1 − S m / Sut
σ e 1 + S m / Sut
nσ a 1 − nS m / Sut
Se 1 + nS m / Sut
r =σa / σm
rS ut + Se  4rSut Se 
Sa = − 1 + 1 + 2 
2  (rS ut + S e ) 

Influence of Multi-Axial Stress Status

Simple Multi-axial Stress Complex Multi-axial Stress

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Combinations of Loading Modes

• Completely Reversing Simple Loads

• Fluctuating Simple Loads
• Combinations of Loading Modes

1/ 2
 (σ )  2

σ a' = (K f )bending (σ a )bending + (K f )axial a axial  + 3 (K fs )torsion (τ a )torsion
0.85 
] 

 

1/ 2
 (σ m )axial  2 
σ m' = (K f )bending (σ m )bending + (K f )axial
0.85 
+ 3 (K fs )torsion (τ m )torsion 
 

Cumulative Damage

Instead of a single fully reverse stress history block

composed of n cycles, support a machine part, at a
critical location, is subjected to
• a fully reversed stress σ1 for n1, σ2 for n2, ….or
• a ‘wiggly’ time line of stress exhibiting many
and different peaks and valleys

Linear Damage Rule (Miner’s Rule):

Failure is predicted if n1' n2' n3'
+ + +L ≥ 1
N1' N 2' N 3'

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Cumulative Damage Example

For the un-notched bar with the machine-made of low-

carbon steel (AISI 1020), the fatigue stress is 25 ksi for
20% of the time
time, 30 ksi for 30%
30%, and 35 ksi for 40%,
and 40 ksi for 10%. Find the number of cycles until
cumulative failure.

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