A critical plane approach in combination with principal component analysis (PCA) for determining dominant damage factors (DDFs) was developed for single crystal nickel superalloys at elevated temperature. Maximum resolved shear stress (RSS), maximum slip rate and other 2 mesoscopic parameters on the critical plane, defined as the preferential slip plane, were selected as damage parameters. Correlation analysis results indicated that there were strong correlations (i.e. multicollinearity) among the selected parameters. To address this issue, PCA was performed to eliminate the effect of multicollinearity and the DDFs were determined as well. Based on the DDFs a life model was proposed and then validated by the fatigue experimental results. Most of the experimental lives are within the factor three of the predicted ones. The life model has a relatively simple form with reliable constants which facilitates the application in industry design.

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