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Nondestructive Evaluation


NDE Methods for Detecting High-Cycle Fatigue


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The U.S. Air Force has determined that more than 50% of accidents involving aircraft damage result from high-cycle fatigue (HCF). HCF is the high-frequency, low-intensity stress that increases the potential for low-cycle fatigue and foreign object damage, perhaps resulting in catastrophic failure.


The U.S. Air Force needs to be able to perform nondestructive evaluations on various engine materials to detect the presence of high-cycle fatigue, which is assumed to produce very small defects. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) identified and evaluated those NDE methods that could be used to detect the smallest HCF-type defects.


Nondestructive Technologies for Detecting High-Cycle Fatigue

  • Surface acoustic waves

  • Surface skimming ultrasonic waves

  • Angle-beam ultrasonics

  • Eddy current

  • Krypton emission technique™

Results using conventional testing indicate most of the techniques could detect only those defects greater than 50 mm long. Eddy current techniques detected defects as small as 20 mm.


For more information about our nondestructive evaluation (NDE) capabilities, methods for detecting high-cycle fatigue, or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Clinton J. Thwing, at or (210) 522-3989.


Contact Information

Clinton J. Thwing

Ultrasonic Testing

(210) 522-3989

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| Sensor Systems and Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Technology Department | Mechanical Engineering Division | SwRI Home |

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.