It has long been speculated that second-order effects should prove an effective measure of a
material’s fatigue and damage state. One such second-order effect is the acousto-elastic
effect. In a series of experiments on the nickel-based superalloy waspaloy, the change in
the acousto-elastic coefficient of Rayleigh waves was monitored as the material was fatigued.
Our results demonstrate the possibility of using this variation as a mean of measuring fatigue
in waspaloy. They also show that waspaloy demonstrates a significantly different acoustoelastic
behavior than that expected from a metal. This fact enhances the sensitivity of the
technique in this material. It is interpreted as being due to load transfer between the two
major phases found in waspaloy, the matrix phase (c) and the strengthening phase (c0).
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