The present study applies a compressive split Hopkinson bar to investigate the mechanical response, microstructural evolution and fracture characteristics of an aluminium-scandium (AlSc) alloy at temperatures ranging from -100 to 300°C and strain rates of 1·2 × 103, 3·2 × 103 and 5·8 × 103 s-1. The relationship between the dynamic mechanical behaviour of the Al-Sc alloy and its microstructural characteristics is explored. The fracture features and microstructural evolution are observed using scanning and transmission electron microscopy techniques. The stress-strain relationships indicate that the flow stress, work hardening rate and strain rate sensitivity increase with increasing strain rate, but decrease with increasing temperature. Conversely, the activation volume and activation energy increase as the temperature increases or the strain rate decreases. Additionally, the fracture strain reduces with increasing strain rate and decreasing temperature. The Zerilli-Armstrong fee constitutive model is used to describe the plastic deformation behaviour of the Al-Sc alloy, and the error between the predicted flow stress and the measured stress is found to be less than 5%. The fracture analysis results reveal that cracks initiate and propagate in the shear bands of the Al-Sc alloy specimens and are responsible for their ultimate failure. However, at room temperature, under a low strain rate of 1·2 × 103 s-1 and at a high experimental temperature of 300°C under all three tested strain rates, the specimens do not fracture, even under large strain deformations. Scanning electron microscopy observations show that the surfaces of the fractured specimens are characterised by transgranular dimpled features, which are indicative of ductile fracture. The depth and density of these dimples are significantly influenced by the strain rate and temperature. The transmission electron microscopy structural observations show the precipitation of Al 3Sc particles in the matrix and at the grain boundaries. These particles suppress dislocation motion and result in a strengthening effect. The transmission electron microscopy analysis also reveals that the dislocation density increases, but the dislocation cell size decreases, with increasing strain rate for a constant level of strain. However, a higher temperature causes the dislocation density to decrease, thereby increasing the dislocation cell size.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering