Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Peter Kaehui Liaw

Committee Members

Raymond A. Buchanan, Charlie R. Brooks, John D. Landes


It has always been a great temptation in finding new methods to in-situ “watch” the material fatigue-damage processes so that in-time reparations will be possible, and failures or losses can be minimized to the maximum extent. Realizing that temperature patterns may serve as fingerprints for stress-strain behaviors of materials, a state-of-art infrared (IR) thermography camera has been used to “watch” the temperature evolutions of both crystalline and amorphous materials “cycle by cycle” during fatigue experiments in the current research.

The two-dimensional (2D) thermography technique records the surface-temperature evolutions of materials. Since all plastic deformations are related to heat dissipations, thermography provides an innovative method to in-situ monitor the heat-evolution processes, including plastic-deformation, mechanical-damage, and phase-transformation characteristics. With the understanding of the temperature evolutions during fatigue, thermography could provide the direct information and evidence of the stress-strain distribution, crack initiation and propagation, shear-band growth, and plastic-zone evolution, which will open up wide applications in studying the structural integrity of engineering components in service.

In the current research, theoretical models combining thermodynamics and heat-conduction theory have been developed. Key issues in fatigue, such as in-situ stress-strain states, cyclic softening and hardening observations, and fatigue-life predictions, have been resolved by simply monitoring the specimen-temperature variation during fatigue. Furthermore, in-situ visulizations as well as qualitative and quantitative analyses of fatigue-damage processes, such as Lüders-band evolutions, crack propagation, plastic zones, and final fracture, have been performed using thermography results. As a method requiring no special sample preparation or surface contact by sensors, thermography provides an innovative and convenient method to in-situ monitor and analyze the mechanical-damage processes of materials and components.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."