2006 Volume 49 Issue 1 Pages 1-10
In order to study the subsurface crack initiation and propagation mechanism of high strength steel under a very high cycle fatigue regime, computational simulation with fracture surface topographic analysis (FRASTA) was carried out for subsurface fatigue crack initiated specimens of high speed tool steel (JIS SKH51) obtained from the rotating bending fatigue test in air. A remarkable area formed around the nonmetallic inclusion inside the fish-eye region on the fracture surface, which is a feature on the fracture surface in super long fatigue. This so-called GBF (granular-bright-facet) was observed in detail by a scanning probe microscope and a three-dimensional SEM. The GBF area, in which a rich carbide distribution was detected by EPMA, revealed a very rough and granular morphology in comparison with the area inside the fish-eye. It was clearly simulated by FRASTA that multiple microcracks were initiated and dispersed by the decohesion of a spherical carbide from the matrix around a nonmetallic inclusion, and converged into the GBF area during the fatigue process. After the formation of the GBF area, interior cracks grew radially and a fish-eye pattern formed on the fracture surface.