If you have ever spent weeks or months waiting for axial fatigue testing data from a contracted test lab, or spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire multiple axial fatigue testing systems for your own research lab… read on.

Fatigue Endurance Limit

It is estimated that over 90% of material failures in service are caused by fatigue and not simply mechanical overloading. The execution of metals fatigue testing to calculate a material’s endurance limit is critical in many industries like aerospace and automotive to ensure safe, efficient, and long-lasting product designs.

The primary method to determine a metal’s endurance limit would be through Force Controlled Constant Amplitude Axial Fatigue Testing per ASTM E466 or ISO 1099. These test methods are well-regarded and performed at many materials testing labs around the world.

The problem?

Axial fatigue test equipment required to run this testing is extremely expensive, and a test can take quite a while if the test frequency is limited to 10-25Hz and millions of cycles are expected. 

So what’s the solution?

Rotating Beam Fatigue Testing (ISO 1143 Metallic materials – Rotating bar bending fatigue testing)

Rotating Beam Fatigue testing (sometimes referred to as the R.R. Moore method) has been around since the 1800s. It enables researchers to:

  • Perform fatigue testing at higher frequencies, often up to 100Hz, leading to faster actionable data compared to axial fatigue testing.
  • Save capital expenses by purchasing a much simpler and more cost-effective test machine design compared to high capacity servo-hydraulic axial fatigue test systems. Rotating beam fatigue machines often cost in the range of 20%-25% of an axial fatigue machine rated for metals testing, and don’t require as much upkeep. 
Rotating Beam Fatigue machine

eXpert 9300 Rotating Beam Fatigue – Safety cover off

Rotating Beam Fatigue Testing Application of Force

In rotating beam fatigue testing applications, a bending stress is applied to a round specimen in constant rotation, causing the surfaces of the specimen see alternating tensile and compressive stresses. This method effectively mimics an axial fatigue test with an R value of -1.

Rotating Beam Fatigue system sample failure

eXpert 9300 – Rotating Beam Fatigue system sample failure

Rotating Beam Fatigue and Axial Fatigue Test Methods

The main difference between the two test methods is that axial fatigue testing applies uniform stress throughout the cross-section of the specimen under test, whereas rotating beam fatigue testing creates an applied stress that increases linearly from 0 at the neutral axis to a maximum stress value at the specimen surface. 

Rotating Beam Fatigue Material testing machine under bending moment

eXpert 9300 Rotating Beam Fatigue – Pure bending moment actuator

Rotating Beam Fatigue Test Results

While Rotating Beam Fatigue testing isn’t a replacement for Axial Fatigue testing, there is certainly a path for researchers to correlate rotating beam fatigue results to axial fatigue test results. With careful specimen preparation and by maintaining an eye on material homogeneity & surface finish, studies have shown (see references below) that it is indeed possible to accurately correlate data from the two methods. And once that correlation is determined, the road to faster data and less expensive testing is wide open!

Click below for further information and system specifications.


References on ways to correlate rotating beam fatigue data to axial fatigue data:

Tomaszewski, T., and Strzelecki, P., “Analysis of Axial Load and Bending Load Effects on The Fatigue Life”, AIP Conference Proceedings 2028, 020019 (2018)

H. Özdeş, M. Tiryakioğlu, P.D. Eason, “On Estimating Axial High Cycle Fatigue Behavior by Rotating Beam Fatigue Testing: Application to A356 Aluminum Alloy Castings”, Materials Science & Engineering A, 697 (2017) 95-100.

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