Microstructural effects on fatigue damage evolution in advanced high strength sheet (AHSS) steels
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An understanding of the damage evolution prior to crack initiation in advanced structural materials is of vital importance to the fatigue community in both academia and industry. Features known as the Persistent Slip Bands (PSBs) play an integral role in this damage evolution. Therefore, PSBs have been the focus of a lot of science-based investigations over the years. However, most existing studies in this area are restricted to analysis of PSBs in single crystal face centered cubic (FCC) materials. Moreover, these studies lack a quantitative analysis of the evolution of the fatigue damage (or PSBs) as a function of the material microstructure. This is especially true for relatively modern materials such as the Advanced High Strength Structural (AHSS) steels that are gaining a lot of importance in the automotive sector. Accordingly, the objective of this research is to quantitatively characterize evolution of PSBs in three AHSS steels having different microstructures as a function of number of fatigue cycles and strain amplitude. For this purpose strain controlled interrupted fatigue tests have been performed on two dual phase steels (DP-590 and DP-980) having different relative amounts of tempered martensite and a ferritic high strength low alloy steel (HR-590). Digital image analysis and Stereology have been used for unbiased quantitative characterization of the evolution of global geometry of the PSB colonies as function of number of fatigue cycles and strain amplitude. Evolution of PSB colonies has been couched in terms of variation of PSB colony volume fraction and total surface area unit volume, and total surface area of individual PSBs per unit volume and three-dimensional angular orientation distribution of the PSBs. For this purpose, new stereological techniques have been developed for estimation of the three-dimensional angular orientation distribution. The stereological data reveal that during strain controlled in these AHSS steels, volume fraction of the PSB colonies varies linearly with the their total surface area per unit volume. Detailed analysis of the stereological data leads to a simple geometric model for evolution of the PSB colonies in the three AHSS steels, which accounts for all observed data trends.