Fatigue Test

A method for determining the behavior of materials under fluctuating loads. A specified mean load (which may be zero) and an alternating load are applied to a specimen and the number of cycles required to produce failure (fatigue life) is recorded. Generally, the test is repeated with identical specimens and various fluctuating loads. Loads may be applied axially, in torsion, or in flexure. Depending on amplitude of the mean and cyclic load, net stress in the specimen may be in one direction through the loading cycle, or may reverse direction. Data from fatigue testing often are presented in an S-N diagram which is a plot of the number of cycles required to cause failure in a specimen against the amplitude of the cyclical stress developed. The cyclical stress represented may be stress amplitude, maximum stress or minimum stress. Each curve in the diagram represents a constant mean stress. Most fatigue tests are conducted in flexure, rotating beam, or vibratory type machines. Fatigue testing is generally discussed in "Manual on Fatigue Testing," ASTM STP 91-A, and "Mechanical Testing of Materials," A.J. Fenner, Philosophical Library, Inc. ASTM D-671 details a standard procedure for fatigue testing of plastics in flexure.