Investigation of the effect of vacuum environment on the fatigue and fracture behavior of 7075-T6.Axial-load fatigue-life, fatigue-crack propagation, and fracture-toughness experiments were conducted on sheet specimens made of 7075-T6 aluminum alloy. These experiments were conducted at air pressures ranging from 101 kN/sq m to 7 micronewtons/sq m to determine the effect of air pressure on fatigue behavior. Analysis of the results from the fatigue-life experiments indicated that for a given stress level, the lower the air pressure was the longer the fatigue life. At a pressure of 7 micronewtons/sq m, fatigue lives were 15 to 30 times longer than at 101 kN/sq m. Analysis of the results from the fatigue-crack-growth experiments indicates that at low values of stress-intensity range, the fatigue-crack-growth rates were approximately twice as high at atmospheric pressure as in vacuum. However, at higher values of stress-intensity range, the fatigue-crack-growth rates were nominally the same in vacuum and at atmospheric pressure.
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Hudson, C. M. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, Va., United States)