Fatigue Behavior of A356 Aluminum Alloy

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Metal fatigue is a recurring problem for metallurgists and materials engineers, especially in structural applications. It has been responsible for many disastrous accidents and tragedies in history. Understanding the micro-mechanisms during cyclic deformation and combating fatigue failure has remained a grand challenge. Environmental effects, like temperature or a corrosive medium, further worsen and complicate the problem. Ultimate design against fatigue must come from a materials perspective with a fundamental understanding of the interaction of microstructural features with dislocations, under the influence of stress, temperature, and other factors. This research endeavors to contribute to the current understanding of the fatigue failure ... continued below

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Nelaturu, Phalgun May 2016.

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  • Nelaturu, Phalgun

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Description

Metal fatigue is a recurring problem for metallurgists and materials engineers, especially in structural applications. It has been responsible for many disastrous accidents and tragedies in history. Understanding the micro-mechanisms during cyclic deformation and combating fatigue failure has remained a grand challenge. Environmental effects, like temperature or a corrosive medium, further worsen and complicate the problem. Ultimate design against fatigue must come from a materials perspective with a fundamental understanding of the interaction of microstructural features with dislocations, under the influence of stress, temperature, and other factors. This research endeavors to contribute to the current understanding of the fatigue failure mechanisms. Cast aluminum alloys are susceptible to fatigue failure due to the presence of defects in the microstructure like casting porosities, non-metallic inclusions, non-uniform distribution of secondary phases, etc. Friction stir processing (FSP), an emerging solid state processing technique, is an effective tool to refine and homogenize the cast microstructure of an alloy. In this work, the effect of FSP on the microstructure of an A356 cast aluminum alloy, and the resulting effect on its tensile and fatigue behavior have been studied. The main focus is on crack initiation and propagation mechanisms, and how stage I and stage II cracks interact with the different microstructural features. Three unique microstructural conditions have been tested for fatigue performance at room temperature, 150 °C and 200 °C. Detailed fractography has been performed using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron back scattered diffraction (EBSD). These tools have also been utilized to characterize microstructural aspects like grain size, eutectic silicon particle size and distribution. Cyclic deformation at low temperatures is very sensitive to the microstructural distribution in this alloy. The findings from the room temperature fatigue tests highlight the important role played by persistent slip bands (PSBs) in fatigue crack initiation. At room temperature, cracks initiate along PSBs in the absence of other defects/stress risers, and grow transgranularly. Their propagation is retarded when they encounter grain boundaries. Another major finding is the complete transition of the mode of fatigue cracking from transgranular to intergranular, at 200 °C. This occurs when PSBs form in adjacent grains and impinge on grain boundaries, raising the stress concentration at these locations. This initiates cracks along the grain boundaries. At these temperatures, cyclic deformation is no longer microstructure- dependent. Grain boundaries don’t impede the progress of cracks, instead aid in their propagation. This work has extended the current understanding of fatigue cracking mechanisms in A356 Al alloys to elevated temperatures.

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  • May 2016

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  • June 28, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 1:05 p.m.

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Nelaturu, Phalgun. Fatigue Behavior of A356 Aluminum Alloy, dissertation, May 2016; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc849720/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .