Moffat, A.J., Mellor, B.G., Sinclair, I. and Reed, P.A.S.
The mechanisms of long fatigue crack growth behaviour in Al–Si casting alloys at room and elevated temperature.
Materials Science and Technology, 23, (12), . (doi:10.1179/174328407X243988).
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Pistons are commonly made from multicomponent Al–Si casting alloys, which have complex, interconnecting three-dimensional (3D) networks of secondary phase particles. They are non-serviceable parts and so must be able to withstand high cycle fatigue while operating at temperatures between 30 and 80% of Tm. Long fatigue crack growth tests were performed at room temperature (RT) and 350uC to assess the micromechanisms of fatigue. The fracture profiles at low and high da/dN were analysed; at low crack growth rates at both temperatures there is no crack path preferentiality with respect to the microstructure. At high da/dN in the RT sample the crack growth occurs preferentially via hard particles, while at 350uC there is a change in mechanism and the crack appears to avoid hard particles. X-ray tomography has been used to image the crack tips and gain a detailed insight into the mechanisms of fatigue in these complex 3D microstructures.
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