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  • Small crack fatigue is a widely recognized problem in the fatigue of materials; however, there has been limited progress in developing methods for predicting small crack fatigue behavior. In this paper, small crack effects due to crack bridging are addressed. A fatigue threshold R-curve was measured for a 99.5% pure polycrystalline alumina using standard compact tension specimens and it was used to 1) determine the bridging stress profile for the material and 2) make fatigue endurance strength predictions for realistic semi-elliptical surface cracks. Furthermore, is has been shown that the fatigue threshold R-curve can equivalently be determined by measuring the bridging stress distribution, in this case using fluorescence spectroscopy, using only a long crack compact tension specimen without the need for difficult small crack experiments. It is expected that this method will be applicable to a wide range of bridging toughened materials, including composites, toughened ceramics, intermetallics, and multi-phase materials.
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