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Corrosion Fundamentals

Corrosion Fatigue

Corrosion fatigue is a special case of stress corrosion caused by the combined effects of cyclic stress and corrosion. No metal is immune from some reduction of its resistance to cyclic stressing if the metal is in a corrosive environment. Damage from corrosion fatigue is greater than the sum of the damage from both cyclic stresses and corrosion.  Control of corrosion fatigue can be accomplished by either lowering the cyclic stresses or by corrosion control.

The "beach marks" on the propeller shown below mark the progression of fatigue on this surface.

Corrosion Fatigue of a Propeller

Similar beach marks are shown on the aerospace part below left. The high magnification scanning electron microscope image on the right shows striations (individual crack progression marks). The part shown below is also discussed in the section on fretting corrosion.

Beach Marks from Corrosion Fatigue

Striations from Corrosion Fatigue

An infamous example of corrosion fatigue occured in 1988 on an airliner flying between the Hawaiian islands. This disaster, which cost one life, prompted the airlines to look at their airplanes and inspect for corrosion fatigue.

Aloha Flight 243 due to Corrosion Fatigue