Experimental investigation of damage detection and crack initiation up to the very high cycle fatigue regime
Materials in many modern small-scale applications are under complex cyclic stress states and undergo up to 109 cycles. Fatigue mechanisms limit their lifetime and lead to failure. Therefore, the Very High Cycle Fatigue (VHCF) regime needs to be studied. This project investigates the fatigue mechanisms and crack initiation of fcc materials such as nickel, aluminum and copper, and bcc materials such as 17-4PH on a small-scale in the VHCF regime by means of innovative fatigue experimentation. Firstly, the development and implementation of a novel custom-built resonant fatigue setup showed that the resonant frequency of bending micro-samples changes with increasing cycle number due to the accumulating fatigue dam-age. Then, additional insights on early damage formation have been explored. Mechanisms, prior to crack initiation, such as slip band formation at a state where it appears in only a few grains, have been observed. Cyclic hardening, vacancy formation and oxidation formation may be considered as possible explanations for early fatigue mechanisms. In addition, the new experimental setup can be used to define parameters needed for crack initiation models. Finally, these crack initiation processes have been experimentally examined for pure aluminum and pure copper.