Carbide-free bainitic steels are an example of high-strength steels that show an excellent combination of strength, ductility, toughness and rolling fatigue contact resistance and are progressively being introduced in the production of railways, crossings and automotive components. Although there are Mn-free approaches able to produce carbide-free bainitic steels, those based on the addition of Mn are less expensive. Therefore, it is important to fully understand the mechanical behavior of such materials to develop reliable engineering products. In this paper, three low-carbon bainitic steels, differing in Mn content, namely 0%, 2.3% and 3.2%, designated as steel A, B and C, respectively, were studied in a systematic manner. Low-cycle fatigue tests were conducted under symmetrical strain-controlled conditions for different strain amplitudes (0.6%, 0.7%, 0.8% and 1%). Independent of Mn content, a strong relationship between cumulative strain energy density and number of cycles to failure was found. Based on this relationship, a new predictive model, capable of estimating the fatigue lifetime, was developed. Predictions based on the new model were close to the experimental lives and were more accurate than those computed via the well-known Smith-Watson-Topper (SWT) and Liu criteria.
- Fatigue life predictions
- High-strength bainitic steels
- Mn effect
- Strain energy density