Overview of Aluminum Alloy Mechanical Properties During and After Fires
Aluminum alloys are increasingly being used in a broad spectrum of load-bearing applications such as lightweight structures, light rail, bridge decks, marine crafts, and off-shore platforms. A major concern in the design of land-based and marine aluminum structures is fire safety, at least in part due to mechanical property reduction at temperatures significantly lower than that for steel. A substantial concern also exists regarding the integrity and stability of an aluminum structure following a fire; however, little research has been reported on this topic. This paper provides a broad overview of the mechanical behavior of aluminum alloys both during and following fire. The two aluminum alloys discussed in this work, 5083-H116 and 6061-T651, were selected due to their prevalence as lightweight structural alloys and their differing strengthening mechanisms (5083 – strain hardened, 6061 – precipitation hardened). The high temperature quasi-static mechanical and creep behavior are discussed. A creep model is presented to predict the secondary and tertiary creep strains followed by creep rupture. The residual mechanical behavior following fire (with and without applied stress) is elucidated in terms of the governing kinetically-dependent microstructural mechanisms. A review is provided on modeling techniques for residual mechanical behavior following fire including empirical relations, physically-based constitutive models, and finite element implementations. The principal objective is to provide a comprehensive description of select aluminum alloys, 5083-H116 and 6061-T651, to aid design and analysis of aluminum structures during and after fire.