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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Properties of ultra fine grain [beta]-CuAlNi strain memory alloys Mukunthan, Kannappar


A method has been developed to produce grain sizes as low as 5µm in β-CuAlNi alloys and the effect of grain size on mechanical and strain-memory properties was studied. The thermomechanical treatment procedure involved two. sequential warm working and recrystallization steps at 600° C and 800° C respectively on eutectoid alloys. Three different eutectoid alloys, two with Ms temperature of around 0°C and one with Ms = 220° C were used for the present studies. Even at fine grain sizes, the specimens produced were of single β- phase type without any second phases. Two-stage characteristic stress-strain curves were obtained for most of the specimens in both the strain memory and pseudoelastic states. It was found that the ultimate tensile strength and strain to failure increased with decreasing grain size according to a Hall-Petch relationship down to a grain size of 5µm with the exception of one alloy. Fracture strengths of 1,200 MPa and fracture strains of 10% could be obtained. It was found that the major recovery mode, whether pseudoelastic or strain memory, did not have any significant effect on the total recovery obtained. Recovery properties were not affected significantly by decreasing grain size. Approximately 86% recovery could be obtained for an initial applied strain of 5% at a grain size of around 10µm. Grain refinement increased the fatigue life considerably, possibly due to high ultimate fracture strength and ductile fracture mode. Fatigue life of 275,000 cycles could be obtained for an applied stress of 330 MPa and a steady state strain of 0.6%. Most of the fractures are due to intergranular-type brittle fracture. At fine grain sizes, transgranular-type brittle fracture and microvoid coalescence-type ductile fracture dominated the fracture mode. Oxygen segregation at grain boundaries is the possible explanation for the different mechanical properties shown by different alloys in the present work by being a major factor in causing intergranular-type fracture.

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