Creep failure vs. fatigue in metals - Industrial Physics Creep failure vs. fatigue in metals - Industrial Physics

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Creep failure vs. fatigue in metals

Testing Metals: Is it Creep Failure or Fatigue?

Creep failure and fatigue are both time-dependent issues that can have a devastating effect on metal components – but they aren’t the same thing.
Discover the difference between these two common faults and find out more about how they can affect the integrity of metal parts and components.

What is metal creep failure?

Creep failure is characterized by the permanent deformation of material under constant load and temperature.
It happens in constant stress situations and is particularly common in extreme temperatures, although it can occur in ambient ones too. It occurs under steady loading condition as a function of time. In fact, loading condition is one of the salient difference between fatigue and creep.

Soft materials like lead, zinc and tin creep at room temperature, while the tendency to creep in heavy metals like iron and copper increase with increase in temperature.
Check out our guide for more about the three stages of creep failure .

What is metal creep fatigue?

Creep fatigue is characterized by the elongation of a crack over a period of time.
It also presents itself in situations where the material is under stress and subjected to extreme temperatures. Surface finish and heat treatment can also significantly impact the fatigue life.

Both creep failure and fatigue occur due to applied loads or pressure and can result in the failure of the material. Metal is not the only material that is subject to creep failure. Find out more in our handy guide to creep failure in plastics .

What is the easy way to tell between creep failure and fatigue?

The way that the material fails will show you which problem you’re encountering. Creep results in deformation while fatigue leads to crack propagation. Both ultimately lead to the failure of the material, by compromising its structural integrity and resulting in an eventual split or rupture.

How to test for metal creep or fatigue

The very earliest stages of creep happen on a molecular level and aren’t visible to the naked eye. Creep to fail testing is the only way to be sure that products with metal components will withstand pressure long-term.
To test for creep, a material is subjected to pressure and other stressors, such as temperature. There are several different ways to test for creep, including flexural and compression creep tests. One of the most standard testing methods is a tensile creep test, which is carried out by the application of weights.

Help with metal creep testing

Our custom-designed creep testing frames apply tension and compression forces to your samples, helping you to understand how your products will react when put to the test in real world applications.
Interested in finding out more about how we support medical industry suppliers and packaging manufacturers? Get in touch today.