Fretting is associated with microslip at the interface of contacts experiencing oscillatory loads. One consequence of fretting is the formation and subsequent growth of cracks at the edge of contact, a phenomenon known as fretting fatigue. Fretting fatigue is an important high cycle fatigue failure mechanism in aircraft structural lap joints and turbine blade/disk contacts. A well-characterized, integrated fretting test system has been developed in which both normal and cyclic tangential fretting loads are applied and monitored in conjunction with a bulk load on the specimen. The experimental data includes histories of the three applied forces and a detailed record of the evolution of interfacial friction coefficient, as driven by the surface microslip. The experimental system has been exercised to observe fretting crack nucleation and growth under a wide range of loading conditions in the context of a statistically-designed test matrix. An extensive multiaxial fatigue analysis based on the stress-strain cycle experienced by each point of the bodies subjected to the fretting loads reveals that the critical location for crack formation is the trailing edge of contact, consistent with observations made in the laboratory. The resulting stress-strain cycles are coupled with strain-life theory and literature values of uniaxial fatigue constants to predict fretting fatigue crack nucleation. The data collected for 2024-T351 aluminum alloy correlates very well with this prediction.

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