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Abstract— Since heat-treated high strength steels are often used as materials for machines and structures that operate under severe service conditions, it is important to evaluate their fatigue life. Hence the growth law of a small fatigue crack must be known in order to estimate the fatigue life of machines and structures since the life of such members is controlled mainly by the behaviour of a small crack. The growth rate of a small crack can not be predicted usually by linear elastic fracture mechanics, but can be determined uniquely by the term σnal, where σa is stress amplitude, l is crack length and n is a material constant. In this paper, the small-crack growth law of heat-treated carbon steels and low alloy steels was studied. An effective and convenient method based on a small-crack growth law, dl/dN=C3aa)nl is proposed, where σu is the ultimate tensile strength, for predicting the small crack propagation life of heat- treated steels with different tensile strength levels, together with a method for determining the fatigue life of plain members.