In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics and stages of metal fatigue failure. One of the more dangerous types of metal failure out there, fatigue failure may be tough to spot initially, but can lead to fractures and other risks that threaten several application types.
At Wasatch Steel, we’re happy to discuss any fatigue failure risks and how to avoid them for any of our steel products, from steel tubing to steel bar, plate and numerous others. In today’s part two, we’ll go over some of the important metal and steel factors that go into ensuring you aren’t at risk of fatigue failure, plus some applications where fatigue failure could be a concern that should be watched for.
As is the case with all metal failure types, preventing fatigue failure comes back to understanding the properties of the metal in question and its ability to resist this fatigue. And as you may have guessed, the top single factor involved here is fatigue strength.
This number is found by a process called fatigue testing, which actually refers to several different evaluations grouped together. These evaluations involve running material specimens through repeated stress cycles at a certain level, seeing how they respond to both various stress levels and a changing number of cycles. When completed, this test will tell you how much stress a given material can withstand without fracturing.
In addition to ensuring a given piece of metal has the right level of fatigue strength, preventing potential for fatigue failure comes down to proper engineering considerations. For instance, many entities run specific software fatigue analyses on their components or structure designs, allowing them to predict with great accuracy whether fatigue will be a concern for a given application. This also allows for stresses to perhaps be focused to an area that’s less prone to fatigue failure.
Another top consideration here is the right material selection. Varying materials come with different levels of fatigue strength – steel, for example, tends to have one of the highest amounts of fatigue strength, far higher than a metal like aluminum. If you confirm you’ve selected a strong enough material to withstand the stress of a given application, you’re in the clear.
While you should be considering metal fatigue failure during all metal and steel applications, a few that contain specific components or structures that tend to be at high risk for such failure include bridges, airplane parts, suspension equipment for vehicles, furniture, metal stamping components and various high-vibration parts on several applications.
For more on metal fatigue failure and what to look out for, or to learn about any of our steel products or services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.