In manifold technical applications structural parts as well as functional components are loaded not only statically but also cyclically. Since the cyclic endurance limit lies usually far beyond the monotonic yield strength, fundamental understanding of fatigue processes as well as a fatigue design are of extraordinary importance for engineering applications. From a historical point of view the famous work of A. Wöhler with the title Über die Festigkeitsversuche mit Eisen und Stahl published in the year 1871, which deals with the fatigue behaviour of steels for railway axles, can be regarded as the starting point of intense research activities on the fatigue behaviour of materials.
At the Institute of General Materials Properties we are concerned with fundamental fatigue mechanisms as well as applied fatigue problems. The main interest lies on the correlation between the mechanical properties under cyclic loading with microstructural processes and damage mechanisms of metallic materials, compound materials, such as hard metals and material systems, such as coatings on metallic substrates. Beside the investigations with conventional fatigue loading at room temperature and elevated temperatures, we are also concerned with investigations of the fatigue behaviour under thermo-mechanical loads as well as under fretting fatigue conditions.