Microscale characterization of granular deformation near a crack tip
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This paper presents a study of microscale plastic deformation at the crack tip and the effect of microstructure feature on the local deformation of aluminum specimen during fracture test. Three-point bending test of aluminum specimen was conducted inside a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging system. The crack tip deformation was measured in situ utilizing SEM imaging capabilities and the digital image correlation (DIC) full-field deformation measurement technique. The microstructure feature at the crack tip was examined to understand its effect on the local deformation fields. Microscale pattern that was suitable for the DIC technique was generated on the specimen surface using sputter coating through a copper mesh before the fracture test. A series of SEM images of the specimen surface were acquired using in situ backscattered electronic imaging (BEI) mode during the test. The DIC technique was then applied to these SEM images to calculate the full-field deformation around the crack tip. The grain orientation map at the same location was obtained from electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), which was superimposed on a DIC strain map to study the relationship between the microstructure feature and the evolution of plastic deformation at the crack tip. This approach enables to track the initiation and evolution of plastic deformation in grains adjacent to the crack tip. Furthermore, bifurcation of the crack due to intragranular and intergranular crack growth was observed. There was also localization of strain along a grain boundary ahead of and parallel to the crack after the maximum load was reached, which was a characteristic of Dugdale–Barenblatt strip-yield zone. Thus, it appears that there is a mixture of effects in the fracture process zone at the crack tip where the weaker aspects of the grain boundary controls the growth of the crack and the more ductile aspects of the grains themselves dissipate the energy and the corresponding strain level available for these processes through plastic work.
KeywordsDigital Image Correlation Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanic Fracture Process Zone Fracture Test Backscatter Electronic Imaging
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. Support provided by NSF under grant number DMR-0907122 is also greatly appreciated.