Strain rate sensitivity studies on bulk nanocrystalline aluminium by nanoindentation

Strain rate sensitivity studies on bulk nanocrystalline aluminium by nanoindentation

Journal Reference

Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Volume 585, 5 February 2014, Pages 795-799.

Sreedevi Varam, Koteswararao V. Rajulapati, K. Bhanu Sankara Rao.

School of Engineering Sciences and Technology, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad 500046, India.

Abstract

Nanocrystalline aluminium powder synthesized using high energy ball milling process was characterized by X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The studies indicated the powder having an average grain size of ∼42 nm. The consolidation of the powder was carried out by high-pressure compaction using a uni-axial press at room temperature by applying a pressure of 1.5 GPa. The cold compacted bulk sample having a density of ∼98% was subjected to nanoindentation which showed an average hardness and elastic modulus values of 1.67 ± 0.09 GPa and 83 ± 8 GPa respectively at a peak force of 8000 uN and a strain rate of 10−2 s−1. Achieving good strength along with good ductility is challenging in nanocrystalline metals. When enough sample sizes are not available to measure ductility and other mechanical properties as per ASTM standards, as is the case with nanocrystalline materials, nanoindentation is a very promising technique to evaluate strain rate sensitivity. Strain rate sensitivity is a good measure of ductility and in the present work it is measured by performing indentation at various loads with varying loading rates. Strain rate sensitivity values of 0.024–0.054 are obtained for nanocrystalline Al which are high over conventional coarse grained Al. In addition, Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) image of the indent shows that there is some plastically flown region around the indent suggesting that this nanocrystalline aluminium is ductile.

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