Fretting occurs when there is cyclic relative motion of extremely small amplitude between two tightly fit mating surfaces. In this process, the tight fitting load may lead to adhesion of mating surface. The subsequent relative movement breaks the adhesion and lead to local grooves and pits. The localized damage in conjunction with the stresses associated with the cyclic relative motion may lead to surface cracking. This crack subsequently may propagate by fatigue provided there is high enough cyclic stress at that location.
The paper discusses a blade failure induced by such fretting related fatigue. The metallurgical evaluation of the fracture surfaces of the blades showed evidence of classical fatigue failure. However, the crack initiation location did not coincide with high stress location identified by the finite element analysis. This discrepancy along with the evidence of fretting at the crack initiation sites confirms that failures were induced by fretting. Finally, some methods to eliminate or minimize fretting damage are discussed.