For over thirty years, metal research scientists realised that the fatigue strengths of many structural metals are lower in a normal atmosphere than they are in vacuum. Known as ‘atmospheric corrosion fatigue’, this phenomenon has become the object of renewed interest mainly because of problems it presents to the aircraft industry. As to the fact that a general lack of information exists as to how specific atmospheric constituents affect the fatigue process in metals, the US National Bureau of Standards is currently investigating the influence of oxygen and water vapour on a number of metals. The most recent data were obtained on a high strength steel and a titanium alloy.
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