Creep-fatigue behaviour of aluminum alloy-based metal matrix composite

Barbera, Daniele and Chen, Haofeng and Liu, Yinghua (2016) Creep-fatigue behaviour of aluminum alloy-based metal matrix composite. International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping, 139-140. pp. 159-172. ISSN 0308-0161

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    Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) represents a valuable option as structural material for different type of structures and components. Despite this they struggle to become widely adopted due to expensive manufacturing process and complex microstructural behaviour. When subjected to cyclic load conditions the structural response of MMC is not trivial, and becomes even more difficult when high temperature load is involved. Different failure mechanisms would happen and they are originated by the different material properties between the fibre and surrounding matrix. Among all, the mismatch of thermal expansion coefficient is recognized to be the dominant one. The significantly differing coefficients of thermal expansion between ceramic and metal give rise to micro thermal stresses, which enhance the initiation of matrix micro cracks. Their performance under varying load and high temperature is complex, and hence it is difficult to have a clear understanding of the structural responses, especially when fatigue and creep damages become the main failures of MMCs. To improve current understanding of the relationship between creep fatigue interaction of MMCs, the history of thermal and mechanical loading, and the creep dwell period, a highly accurate but robust direct simulation technique on the basis of the Linear Matching Method (LMM) framework has been proposed in this paper, and been applied to model the fatigue and creep behaviour of MMCs. A homogenised FE model is considered in all analyses, which consist of continuous silicon carbide fibres embedded in a square 2024T3 aluminium alloy matrix array. Various factors that affect creep and fatigue behaviours of composites are analysed and discussed, including effects of the applied load level, dwell period and temperature on the MMC’s performance. The effects of reversed plasticity on stress relaxation and creep deformation of MMC are investigated, and the behaviours of cyclically enhanced creep and elastic followup are presented. A detailed study of the creep ratchetting mechanism is also performed with the concentration on the impact of temperature and different loading conditions. The accuracy of the proposed method has been verified by detailed incremental finite element analyses using the commercial finite element solver Abaqus. Such verifications further improve the understanding of the failure mechanisms identified and discussed in this work.