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The experimental mechanics of small cracks require high spatial resolution measurements that are only obtained by using the scanning electron microscope. This paper describes how cyclic loading stages developed for the scanning electron microscope have been used successfully to study growing microcracks, both at ambient and elevated temperatures. In addition, the stereoimaging technique has been used to measure crack-tip parameters that characterize the mechanics and driving force for small fatigue cracks.
cracks, microcracks, measurements, scanning electron microscope, crack-tip mechanics
Institute scientist, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX