Interim report on fatigue characteristics of a typical metal wing

Kepert, J. L., Payne, A. O.

Constant amplitude fatigue tests of seventy-two P-51D "Mustang" wings are reported. The tests were performed by a vibrational loading system and by an hydraulic loading device for conditions with and without varying amounts of pre-load. The results indicate that: (a) the frequency of occurrence of fatigue at any one location is related to the range of the loads applied, (b) the rate of propagation of visible cracks is more or less constant for a large portion of the life of the specimen, (c) the fatigue strength of the structure is similar to that of notched material having a theoretical stress concentration factor of more than 3.0, (d) the frequency distribution of fatigue life is approximately logarithmic normal, (e) the relative increase in fatigue life for a given pre-load depends on the maximum load of the loading cycle only, while the optimum pre-load value is approximately 85 percent of the ultimate failing load, and (f) that normal design procedure will not permit the determination of local stress levels with sufficient accuracy to determine the fatigue strength of an element of a redundant structure.

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