Fatigue Fracture

Fatigue Fracture

Fatigue fracture - elastic stresses that lead to catatrophic breaks

Take a paperclip and bend it repeatedly. Eventually the paperclip breaks without warning. This is true for how metals often fail–catastrophically without warning. This is called fatigue fracture. The most famous example is the Tacoma bridge collapse of 1940.

I spent some time studying this with Professor Arun Jaganathan. Our goal was to find non-invasive methods to detect physical anamolies within a structure that may hinder the structure’s integrity and to predict the lifetime of the structure.

Full-width image Metal often fail catastrophically without warning. One application from the study of fatigue fracture is to find non-invasive methods to detect physical anamolies within a structure that may hinder the structure’s safety and to predict the lifetime of the structure.

Unfortunately our project wasn’t funded but Professor Gabriela Petculescu, my professor undergraduate research on metal alloy characterization, was recently awarded a grant to determine aging of Navy ships.


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