Short fatigue cracks were investigated in a 0.14 wt % carbon steel (SAE 1017) in fine grained condition by optical observation of the surface of smooth specimens under fatigue loading. Axial fatigue experiments were carried out under constant and step amplitude conditions. The lifetime to crack initiation was calculated for each ferrite grain with regard to grain size and orientation. For the calculation of crack propagation, the slip band length (grain size) and the distance between crack tip and next barrier (grain boundary) are taken into consideration. Furthermore, the simulation program includes some geometrical aspects for the description of crack coalescence.
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