A phenomenological and mechanistic study of fatigue under complex loading histories

Yat-Khin Wong

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

677 Downloads (Pure)


[Truncated abstract. Please see pdf format for complete text.] Over the years much work has been done on studying sequence effects under multilevel loading. Yet, the underlying fatigue mechanisms responsible for such interactions are not fully understood. The study of fatigue under complex loading histories begins by investigating strain interaction effects arising from simple 2-step loading sequences. Fatigue for all investigations were conducted under uniaxial push-pull mode in strain-control. Fatigue is traditionally classified as either low or high cycle fatigue (LCF and HCF respectively). The boundary for LCF and HCF is not well-defined even though the fatigue life of LCF is typically dominated by crack “initiation”, while for HCF, fatigue life is usually dominated by stable crack growth. The terms LCF and HCF, apart from referring to the low and high number of fatigue cycles required for failure, also bear little physical meaning in terms of describing the state of fatigue imposed. As a result, conventional definitions of the two distinct regimes of fatigue are challenged and a new method of classifying the boundary between the two regimes of fatigue is proposed. New definitions are proposed and the terms plastically dominant fatigue (PDF) and elastically dominant fatigue (EDF) are introduced as suitable replacements for LCF and HCF respectively. PDF refers to the condition of a material undergoing significant reverse plasticity during cyclic loading, while for EDF, minimal reverse plasticity is experienced. Systematic testing of three materials, 316 L stainless steel, 6061-T6 aluminium alloy and 4340 high strength steel, was performed to fully investigate the cycle ratio trends and “damage” accumulation behaviour which resulted from a variety of loading conditions. Results from this study were carried over to investigate more complex multilevel loading sequences and possible mechanisms for interaction effects observed both under 2-step and multi-step sequences were proposed. Results showed that atypical cycle ratio trends could result from loading sequences which involve combinations of strain amplitudes from different fatigue regimes (i.e. PDF or EDF). Mean strain effects on fatigue life were also studied. The objective of this study was to identify regimes of fatigue which are significantly influenced by mean strains. Results indicated that mean strains affected EDF but not PDF. 2-step tests, similar to those performed in earlier studies were conducted to investigate the effects of mean strain on variable amplitude loading.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2003


Dive into the research topics of 'A phenomenological and mechanistic study of fatigue under complex loading histories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this