Deformation behaviours of coarse-grained and nanocrystalline Mg-5wt% Al alloys

Diao, Hui (2011) Deformation behaviours of coarse-grained and nanocrystalline Mg-5wt% Al alloys. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Magnesium alloys have been of growing interest to various engineering applications, such as the automobile, aerospace, communication and computer industries due to their low density, high specific strength, good machineability and availability as compared with other structural materials. However, most Mg alloys suffer from poor plasticity due to their Hexagonal Close Packed structure. Grain refinement has been proved to be an effective method to enhance the strength and alter the ductility of the materials. Several methods have been proposed to produce materials with nanocrystalline grain structures. So far, most of the research work on nanocrystalline materials has been carried out on Face-Centered Cubic and Body-Centered Cubic metals. However, there has been little investigation of nanocrystalline Mg alloys. In this study, bulk coarse-grained and nanocrystalline Mg alloys were fabricated by a mechanical alloying method. The mixed powder of Mg chips and Al powder was mechanically milled under argon atmosphere for different durations of 0 hours (MA0), 10 hours (MA10), 20 hours (MA20), 30 hours (MA30) and 40 hours (MA40), followed by compaction and sintering. Then the sintered billets were hot-extruded into metallic rods with a 7 mm diameter. The obtained Mg alloys have a nominal composition of Mg–5wt% Al, with grain sizes ranging from 13 μm down to 50 nm, depending on the milling durations. The microstructure characterization and evolution after deformation were carried out by means of Optical microscopy, X-Ray Diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Scanning Probe Microscopy and Neutron Diffraction techniques. Nanoindentaion, compression and micro-compression tests on micro-pillars were used to study the size effects on the mechanical behaviour of the Mg alloys. Two kinds of size effects on the mechanical behaviours and deformation mechanisms were investigated: grain size effect and sample size effect. The nanoindentation tests were composed of constant strain rate, constant loading rate and indentation creep tests. The normally reported indentation size effect in single crystal and coarse-grained crystals was observed in both the coarse-grained and nanocrystalline Mg alloys. Since the indentation size effect is correlated to the Geometrically Necessary Dislocations under the indenter to accommodate the plastic deformation, the good agreement between the experimental results and the Indentation Size Effect model indicated that, in the current nanocrystalline MA20 and MA30, the dislocation plasticity was still the dominant deformation mechanism. Significant hardness enhancement with decreasing grain size, down to 58 nm, was found in the nanocrystalline Mg alloys. Further reduction of grain size would lead to a drop in the hardness values. The failure of grain refinement strengthening with the relatively high strain rate sensitivity of nanocrystalline Mg alloys suggested a change in the deformation mechanism. Indentation creep tests showed that the stress exponent was dependent on the loading rate during the loading section of the indentation, which was related to the dislocation structures before the creep starts. The influence of grain size on the mechanical behaviour and strength of extruded coarse-grained and nanocrystalline Mg alloys were investigated using uniaxial compression tests. The macroscopic response of the Mg alloys transited from strain hardening to strain softening behaviour, with grain size reduced from 13 ìm to 50 nm. The strain hardening was related to the twinning induced hardening and dislocation hardening effect, while the strain softening was attributed to the localized deformation in the nanocrystalline grains. The tension–compression yield asymmetry was noticed in the nanocrystalline region, demonstrating the twinning effect in the ultra-fine-grained and nanocrystalline region. The relationship k tensions < k compression failed in the nanocrystalline Mg alloys; this was attributed to the twofold effect of grain size on twinning. The nanocrystalline Mg alloys were found to exhibit increased strain rate sensitivity with decreasing grain size, with strain rate ranging from 0.0001/s to 0.01/s. Strain rate sensitivity of coarse-grained MA0 was increased by more than 10 times in MA40. The Hall-Petch relationship broke down at a critical grain size in the nanocrystalline region. The breakdown of the Hall-Petch relationship and the increased strain rate sensitivity were due to the localized dislocation activities (generalization and annihilation at grain boundaries) and the more significant contribution from grain boundary mediated mechanisms. In the micro-compression tests, the sample size effects on the mechanical behaviours were studied on MA0, MA20 and MA40 micro-pillars. In contrast to the bulk samples under compression, the stress-strain curves of MA0 and MA20 micro-pillars were characterized with a number of discrete strain burst events separated by nearly elastic strain segments. Unlike MA0 and MA20, the stress-strain curves of MA40 micro-pillars were smooth, without obvious strain bursts. The deformation mechanisms of the MA0 and MA20 micro-pillars under micro-compression tests were considered to be initially dominated by deformation twinning, followed by dislocation mechanisms. For MA40 pillars, the deformation mechanisms were believed to be localized dislocation activities and grain boundary related mechanisms. The strain hardening behaviours of the micro-pillars suggested that the grain boundaries in the nanocrystalline micro-pillars would reduce the source (nucleation sources for twins/dislocations) starvation hardening effect. The power law relationship of the yield strength on pillar dimensions in MA0, MA20 supported the fact that the twinning mechanism was correlated to the pre-existing defects, which can promote the nucleation of the twins. Then, we provided a latitudinal comparison of the results and conclusions derived from the different techniques used for testing the coarse-grained and nanocrystalline Mg alloy; this helps to better understand the deformation mechanisms of the Mg alloys as a whole. At the end, we summarized the thesis and highlighted the conclusions, contributions, innovations and outcomes of the research. Finally, it outlined recommendations for future work.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

1,128 since deposited on 06 Nov 2011
61 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 46870
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Yan, Cheng & Bell, John
Keywords: nanocrystalline Mg alloy, texture, dislocation, twinning, strength, strain rate sensitivity, strain hardening, strain softening, grain boundary sliding, Hall-Petch relationship, inverse Hall-Petch, size effect
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 06 Nov 2011 22:40
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:45

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page