The influence of mean strain on fatigue life was investigated for Type 316 stainless steel at room temperature in ambient environment. Two types of mean strain were simulated in the fatigue tests: constant and increasing (ratcheting) mean strains. In order to apply the constant mean strain, prestraining was induced prior to fatigue tests. Although the stress amplitudes became larger due to the prestraining, fatigue lives were almost the same as those obtained using non-prestrained specimens for the same strain range. Change in the maximum peak stress and stress amplitude due to the prestraining had little influence on the fatigue life. It was shown that the mean strain showed little influence on the fatigue life under the same strain range. The ratcheting mean strain was observed during the fatigue tests under mean stress. The fatigue life was reduced by applying the mean stress for the same strain range. The degree of the reduction was increased with the magnitude of the ratcheting mean strain. It was deduced that the increasing mean strain enhanced the crack mouth opening and increased the effective strain range. It was concluded that the ratcheting mean strain reduced the fatigue life for the same strain range, and the reduction in fatigue life could be predicted conservatively by assuming the crack mouth was never closed during the fatigue tests.

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