In-situ experiments conducted within a transmission electron microscope provide the operator a unique opportunity to directly observe microstructural phenomena, such as phase transformations and dislocation-precipitate interactions, “as they happen”. However, in-situ experiments usually require a tremendous amount of experimental preparation beforehand, as well as, during the actual experiment. In most cases the researcher must operate and control several pieces of equipment simultaneously. For example, in in-situ deformation experiments, the researcher may have to not only operate the TEM, but also control the straining holder and possibly some recording system such as a video tape machine. When it comes to in-situ fatigue deformation, the experiments became even more complicated with having to control numerous loading cycles while following the slow crack growth. In this paper we will describe a new method for conducting in-situ fatigue experiments using a camputer-controlled tensile straining holder.
The tensile straining holder used with computer-control system was manufactured by Philips for the Philips 300 series microscopes. It was necessary to modify the specimen stage area of this holder to work in the Philips 400 series microscopes because the distance between the optic axis and holder airlock is different than in the Philips 300 series microscopes. However, the program and interfacing can easily be modified to work with any goniometer type straining holder which uses a penrmanent magnet motor.