The aim of this work was to study the influence of variable amplitude loading on the fatigue crack initiation and propagation. Low Cycle Fatigue (LCF) tests are conducted, on an AISI type 304L austenitic stainless steel, at different total-strain-amplitudes, in laboratory air at room temperature and with a constant strain rate of 3.10−3 s−1. Two types of signal were used: a conventional signal and a complex signal. The first one was triangular in shape with a negative strain ratio (Rε = −1). The second one is still triangular in shape with Rε = −1, but between the maximum of the total-strain (εmax = +0.6%) and the minimum (εmin = −0.6%), several cycles with a smaller total-strain-amplitude are introduced (with values ranged from 0% to +/− 0.3%). From these tests, several conclusions can be drawn on Cyclic Stress Strain (CSS) behaviour, fatigue life and fracture characteristics.

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