The energy released due to hysteresis effects in cyclically loaded materials can be used to predict where fatigue cracks are likely to initiate and to determine the stage of fatigue life. In the present study, thermography is used to monitor the surface temperature distributions on a series of double-notched, mild steel fatigue specimens cyclically loaded in bending. The results indicate that the fatigue life of the material encompasses three thermal stages, each of which is indicative of the fatigue damage the material has sustained. This information can be used to avoid in-service fatigue failures.

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