Experimental and Computational Micromechanics of Aluminum Cerium Alloys and Selective Laser Melted 316L Stainless Steel

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Virginia Tech


Over time science has provided us with new materials and fabrication techniques making it possible to design and create more complex engineering components for service. If we are to include these materials in damage tolerant design efforts, engineers need to understand when/where degradation will occur in the engineering component. To do so it is imperative that micromechanical studies be conducted to understand the material behavior of the microstructural features including phases, build pattern features, and microstructural imperfections including cracks of new materials to validate any future modeling efforts. This dissertation will discuss the experimental and computational micromechanics of extruded and cast aluminum cerium alloys and selective laser melted 316L stainless steel. In Chapters 2 and 3, micromechanical experiments and computational efforts are carried out on extruded 52:1 Al-8Ce-10Mg alloy. Using in-situ scanning electron microscopy tensile testing microcracking is observed in Al11Ce3 intermetallic after yield in the bulk alloy. In-situ digital image correlation tests observe the load sharing characteristics between the Al(Mg) matrix and the Al11Ce3 intermetallic before and after microcracking. Finally, that failure process is determined to be coalesce of microvoids leading to ductile damage failure. These results are used to create an experimental-computational framework to develop a crystal plasticity finite element model for extruded Al-8Ce-10Mg alloys. The calibrated model is used to perform multiple simulations evaluate the possible effect changes intermetallic content and grain orientation texture have on the mechanical strength of the alloy. The experimental and computational framework are expandable to other material systems not just Al-Ce alloys. In Chapter 4, in-situ scanning electron microscopy tensile testing is used to investigate how the matrix and intermetallic phases contribute to the failure behavior alloy of cast Al-11Ce- 0.4Mg alloy. The in-situ tests shows that after multiple points of crack nucleation, crack coalescence causes the subsequent failure to occur in the Al(Mg) matrix phase of the alloy, as seen by tortuous behavior. The cause of this crack behavior is determined to be due to the high strength match between the matrix and intermetallic phase, strong metallurgical bond between the two phases, and the size effect created by large eutectic colonies created during casting. The results of the experimental work are used to propose a 3D multiscale computational model of cast Al-Ce alloys. In Chapter 5, micromechanical experiments are carried out on SLM 316L Stainless Steel with four different sets of varied processing parameters. Discontinuous yielding is observed in the lowest energy density sample caused by the strong [110] texture, optimal for dislocation slip, in the loading direction. The in-situ loading experiments are also able to capture the melt pool track deformation and crack formation that leads to the failure of these samples. This highlights the importance of micromechanical experiments for additive manufactured materials.



Aluminum Cerium Alloys, SLM 316L Stainless Steel, Micromechanics