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A computational strategy for damage-tolerant design of hollow shafts under mixed-mode loading condition.Three‐dimensional numerical analyses, using the finite element method (FEM), have been adopted to simulate fatigue crack propagation in a hollow cylindrical specimen, under pure axial or combined axial‐torsion loading conditions. Specimens, made of Al alloys B95AT and D16T, have been experimentally tested under pure axial load and combined in‐phase constant amplitude axial and torsional loadings. The stress intensity factors (SIFs) have been calculated, according to the J‐integral approach, along the front of a part through crack, initiated in correspondence of the outer surface of a hollow cylindrical specimen. The crack path is evaluated by using the maximum energy release rate (MERR) criterion, whereas the Paris law is used to calculate crack growth rates. A numerical and experimental comparison of the results is presented, showing a good agreement in terms of crack growth rates and paths.