Investigation of S-N Test Data Scatter of Carburized 4320 Steel 2007-01-1006
A series of bending fatigue tests were conducted and S-N data were obtained for two groups of 4320 steel samples: (1) carburized, quenched and tempered, (2) carburized, quenched, tempered and shot peened. Shot peening improved the fatigue life and endurance limit. The S-N data exhibited large scatter, especially for carburized samples and at the high cycle life regime. Sample characterization work was performed and scatter bands were established for residual stress distributions, in addition to fracture and fatigue properties for 4320 steel. Moreover, a fatigue life analysis was performed using fracture mechanics and strain life fatigue theories. Scatter in S-N curves was established computationally by using the lower bound and upper bound in materials properties, residual stress and IGO depth in the input data. The results for fatigue life analysis, using either computational fracture mechanics or strain life theory, agreed reasonably well with the test data. However, the scatter in the fatigue properties of the material and the scatter in residual stress could not fully account for the large scatter in fatigue life. Other factors that might be considered for root causes of the observed large fatigue life scatter were identified and discussed.