An experimental and analytical investigation was undertaken to study the fundamental factors of crack propagation in a thin metal sheet under repeated axial loading. Sheet specimens of 2024-T3 aluminum alloy containing a central hole were used in the experimental investigation. Stress range and mean stress were the controlled parameters. An expression for crack length was derived, based on the concept of geometric similarity of crack configuration, for a semi-infinite sheet subjected to repeated loads consisting of a constant stress and mean stress. The expression is in terms of a stress dependent propagation factor and an exponential function of the number of cycles of loading. The expression for a semi-infinite sheet was modified for crack propagation in a specimen of finite width. Accurate predictions of the propagation life was possible using the modified equation. Photomicrographic observations of the crack tips were made.

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