A high strength steel was studied in 3 percent saltwater to investigate the effects of a corrosive environment and sheet thickness on fatigue crack propagation behavior following the application of a single tensile overload. Experiments were carried out under sinusoidally varying loads at a load ratio of 0 and frequency of 10 Hz. A single tensile overload was found to cause delayed retardation, and the crack propagation rate at first increased, followed by fairly rapid decrease to a minimum value and then increased gradually to its steady-state value, just as it did in air. The overload affected zone size and the retardation cycles increased with decreasing sheet thickness, just as they did in air. However, the zone size and the cycles were larger in 3 percent saltwater than in air. Since the crack propagation rates through the overload affected zone were not affected by the test environment, the longer retardation cycles in 3 percent saltwater were attributed to an enlargement of the overload affected zone size. The crack propagation behavior following the application of a single tensile overload in 3 percent saltwater was well explained by the crack closure concept.

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