In this study, we propose a method for assessing the applicability of an artificial flaw as a small initial crack for fatigue limit evaluation. The proposed method is applied to drill holes and sharp notches introduced using a focused ion beam (FIB) technique in annealed 0.45% carbon steel. It is found that under rotating bending fatigue, an FIB notch can be used as a small initial crack for fatigue limit evaluation, whereas a drill hole cannot, for √area of ∼50 μm. Here, √area is the square root of the area obtained by projecting the defect onto a plane perpendicular to the load axial direction. The results indicate that an FIB notch can be used as a small initial crack for fatigue limit evaluation in a greater number of materials than those in which a drill hole can be used.
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