Effects of microstructure on the spall behavior of aluminum-magnesium alloys
Whelchel, Ricky L.
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This research focuses on the spall properties of aluminum-magnesium (Al-Mg)alloys.Aluminum alloy 5083 (Al 5083) was used as a model alloy for the work performed in this study. Al-Mg alloys represent a light-weight and corrosion resistant alloy system often used in armor plating. It is desirable to process armor plate material to yield a microstructure that provides maximum resistance to spall failure due to blast and projectile impacts. The blast and impact resistance has often been quantified based on the measurement of the spall strength and the Hugoniot elastic limit (HEL). The spall properties of Al-Mg alloys were measured for four different microstructural states resultant from varying processing conditions. The four microstructures include: (a) textured grain structure from a rolled Al 5083-H116 plate, (b) sub-micron grain structure produced using equi-channel angular pressing (ECAP),(c) equiaxed grain structure, and (d) precipitation hardened microstucture from an Al-9wt.% Mg alloy. The overall results show that grain size is not the most dominant microstructural feature affecting spall strength in aluminum alloys, when the impact conditions are the same. Texture, especially if brittle inclusions align along the grains, appears to have the most dominant effect resulting in decreased spall strength. Furthermore, one-dimensional modeling shows that the inclusion size and distribution is the controlling factor for void formation during spalling. Grain size does affect the decompression rate dependence of each microstructure, whereby smaller grain sizes result in a larger power law exponent for fits of spall strength versus decompression rate. Unlike the spall strength, the HEL shows an increasing trend with decreased grain size, as would be expected from a Hall-Petch type effect, indicating that a smaller grain size is best for penetration resistance. Samples processed using ECAP alone provide the best combination of spall strength and HEL and therefore the most promise for improved blast and penetration resistance of aluminum-magnesium alloy armor plates.