The stress-life (S-N) method along with the Palmgren-Miner cumulative damage theory is the simplest and the most commonly used fatigue life prediction technique. Its main advantage is that the material properties needed are easy to collect and life calculation is simple. However under many variable amplitude loading conditions, life predictions have been found to be unreliable. Various modifications have been proposed to the Palmgren-Miner theory, but they have not lead to more reliable life predictions.
In this paper, a two-stage cumulative damage model will be developed and validated. This model divides fatigue life into two phases — a crack initiation phase and a crack propagation phase. It will be shown that the proposed method results in greatly improved life prediction capabilities. Also, the proposed method retains the simplicity of the S-N based approach in that the material data is still relatively simple to generate and the calculations are straightforward.