Digital Repository, ECF15, Stockolm 2004

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Recent developments in the understanding of fretting fatigue
D. Nowell

Last modified: 2013-02-08


Considerable progress has been made in the understanding of fretting fatigue over the lastdecade. Experiments have become more standardised and carefully controlled and this hasprovided the data necessary for development of methods for predicting fretting fatigueperformance. This paper reviews a number of recent developments, starting with attempts toapply multiaxial initiation criteria to the fretting problem. The importance of the size effect ishighlighted and an analogy is made between fretting and notch fatigue. Methods forcharacterising crack initiation using asymptotic analysis are discussed, together with shortcrack arrest concepts which provide a means of predicting fretting fatigue limits from plainfatigue data.IntroductionThe phenomenon of ‘fretting’ has been recognised and studied for well over a century.Initially it was recognised primarily as a surface damage phenomenon; essentially what mighttoday be called ‘fretting wear’. The first recorded reference in the literature is in a paper byEden et al. [1], published in 1911. These authors report the presence of fretting debris,interpreted as iron oxide, in the neighbourhood of a contact interface. Although frettingfatigue is not specifically mentioned, the contact in question was that between grips andspecimen in a plain fatigue test. In the years since then, there must have been manyresearchers who have suffered unintended fretting fatigue failures in this configuration.Indeed, fretting between a specimen and grips has been used the basis of a fretting fatigue testby Hutson et al. [2]. Following the early investigations, fretting was recognised as beingassociated with a reduction in fatigue life (Tomlinson et al, [3], Warlow-Davies [4]) and theterm ‘fretting fatigue’ came into common use to describe situations where microslip betweencontacting surfaces appears to give rise to a reduction in fatigue life when compared to aplain component.Fretting fatigue has been responsible for a large number of service failures across a widerange of applications. For example, fretting in railway axles was reported by Maxwell et al.[5] in 1967, yet remains a cause for concern over thirty years later [6]. For obvious reasons,fretting fatigue is particularly important in safety-critical industries such as aerospace ornuclear power generation. The recent High Cycle Fatigue (HCF) initiative [7] in the USAhas provided a focus for fretting research in the aerospace sector, particularly in aircraftengine applications. Here there are a number of important contact features which may sufferfretting fatigue. These include the ‘dovetail’ roots of compressor blades (Nowell, [8]), wherefailure may have serious consequences for engine integrity (Xi et al., [9]).Experimental investigations of fretting fatigue have taken a number of forms. Initially itwas common to use ‘bridge’ type fretting pads, as shown in Fig. 1a (e.g. Fenner and Field,

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