Fatigue testing is used to determine how a material, part or product is resistant to cyclic loading over time. This type of testing is used across a wide range of industries like automotive, aerospace, Oil and Gas etc. to ensure how ling a part can last.
The fatigue limit is the maximum stress a part can withstand unlimited amount of times.
Performing Fatigue Testing
Fatigue testing machines which can apply a defined cyclic loading over time is used, and the stress exposed to the sample can be tension, compression, bending and torsion. The aim with the test is to define curve illustrating the correlation between the stress level and amount of times it can be applied before failure.
Materials for Fatigue Testing
Most materials is exposed to some kind of fatigue throughout the time a product is used, but in some cases where a part is under constant cyclic stress, the risk of failure due to fatigue need to be considered. Parts exposed to a significant amount of cyclic load are often made from metal or composites, as these have a higher fatigue limit as for example polymers and wood.
History of Fatigue Testing
Failure caused by fatigue has been known since the beginning of the nineteenth century, but it was first with the development of rail travel it started to get a lot of attention. Due to early failure on the axels, it initiated the work to design the first standardized test using torsion to generate the tension.
As fatigue failures usually happen with little to no warning, it can lead to catastrophic accidents if not taken into account in the design.
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