Fatigue Failure

Last updated: November 5, 2019

What Does Fatigue Failure Mean?

Fatigue failure refers to the fracturing of any given material due to the progressive cracking of its brittle surface under applied stresses of an alternating or cyclic nature. Over time, fatigue failure can lead to safety issues and the loss of critical infrastructure.


Corrosionpedia Explains Fatigue Failure

Fatigue failure is a predominant type of failure in many engineering and construction applications. The degree of impact of the fatigue is dependent on the intensity and/or frequency of the applied stress. For example, a small metal rod can be broken due to continuous bending of the rod back and forth in alternating directions. Eventually after prolonged cycling of the stress application, the rod will break. This break is due to fatigue failure.

Fatigue failure can be related to excising microscopic cracks or the generation of new ones that are further expanded. Fatigue failure is easily accelerated by prior corrosion on metal surfaces. Preexisting severe corrosion can be a contributing source of fatigue failure.


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