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Thermo-chemical treatments are known to increase the fatigue life of industrial parts. Due to the imprecise consideration of residual stresses in predicting the durability of components subjected to cyclic loading and their effect on the fatigue life, the authors developed a numerical model combining the influence of residual stresses with stresses caused by bending. The authors performed the numerical simulation with the use of Finite Element Method to analyse material behaviour during cyclic loading. The residual stress state developed during nitriding was introduced onto cross-section of the numerical specimen. The goal of this work was better understanding of the real conditions of the nitride steel fatigue processes and improving the knowledge about numerical predicting of the fatigue life for parts with residual stresses. The results of simulation were compared with plane bending fatigue tests. The presented method indicates the possibility of increasing the accuracy of the fatigue analysis of elements after surface treatment, increasing its certainty and the ability to perform better optimization of service life.
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