Microstructure-sensitive extreme value probabilities of fatigue in advanced engineering alloys
Przybyla, Craig Paul
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A novel microstructure-sensitive extreme value probabilistic framework is introduced to evaluate material performance/variability for damage evolution processes (e.g., fatigue, fracture, creep). This framework employs newly developed extreme value marked correlation functions (EVMCF) to identify the coupled microstructure attributes (e.g., phase/grain size, grain orientation, grain misorientation) that have the greatest statistical relevance to the extreme value response variables (e.g., stress, elastic/plastic strain) that describe the damage evolution processes of interest. This is an improvement on previous approaches that account for distributed extreme value response variables that describe the damage evolution process of interest based only on the extreme value distributions of a single microstructure attribute; previous approaches have given no consideration of how coupled microstructure attributes affect the distributions of extreme value response. This framework also utilizes computational modeling techniques to identify correlations between microstructure attributes that significantly raise or lower the magnitudes of the damage response variables of interest through the simulation of multiple statistical volume elements (SVE). Each SVE for a given response is constructed to be a statistical sample of the entire microstructure ensemble (i.e., bulk material); therefore, the response of interest in each SVE is not expected to be the same. This is in contrast to computational simulation of a single representative volume element (RVE), which often is untenably large for response variables dependent on the extreme value microstructure attributes. This framework has been demonstrated in the context of characterizing microstructure-sensitive high cycle fatigue (HCF) variability due to the processes of fatigue crack formation (nucleation and microstructurally small crack growth) in polycrystalline metallic alloys. Specifically, the framework is exercised to estimate the local driving forces for fatigue crack formation, to validate these with limited existing experiments, and to explore how the extreme value probabilities of certain fatigue indicator parameters (FIPs) affect overall variability in fatigue life in the HCF regime. Various FIPs have been introduced and used previously as a means to quantify the potential for fatigue crack formation based on experimentally observed mechanisms. Distributions of the extreme value FIPs are calculated for multiple SVEs simulated via the FEM with crystal plasticity constitutive relations. By using crystal plasticity relations, the FIPs can be computed based on the cyclic plastic strain on the scale of the individual grains. These simulated SVEs are instantiated such that they are statistically similar to real microstructures in terms of the crystallographic microstructure attributes that are hypothesized to have the most influence on the extreme value HCF response. The polycrystalline alloys considered here include the Ni-base superalloy IN100 and the Ti alloy Ti-6Al-4V. In applying this framework to study the microstructure dependent variability of HCF in these alloys, the extreme value distributions of the FIPs and associated extreme value marked correlations of crystallographic microstructure attributes are characterized. This information can then be used to rank order multiple variants of the microstructure for a specific material system for relative HCF performance or to design new microstructures hypothesized to exhibit improved performance. This framework enables limiting the (presently) large number of experiments required to characterize scatter in HCF and lends quantitative support to designing improved, fatigue-resistant materials and accelerating insertion of modified and new materials into service.