Rapid industrial growth and advances in the domains of engineering and related technologies during the last fifty years have led to the extensive use of traditional metals and their alloy counterparts. Titanium is one such metal which has gained wide popularity in the aerospace and defense related applications owing to a wide range of impressive mechanical properties like excellent specific strength (σUTS/ρ), stiffness, corrosion and erosion resistance, fracture toughness and capability to withstand significant temperature variations.
Two materials, namely commercial purity titanium (Grade 2), referred to henceforth as Ti- CP (Grade 2) and the “work-horse” alloy Ti-6Al-4V have been chosen for this research study. The intrinsic influence of material composition and test specimen orientation on the tensile and fatigue behavior for both Ti- CP (Grade 2) and Ti-6Al-4V have been discussed. Samples of both Ti- CP (Grade 2) and Ti-6Al-4V were prepared from the as-provided plate stock along both the longitudinal and transverse orientations. The specimens were then deformed to failure in uniaxial tension for the tensile tests and cyclically deformed at different values of maximum stress at constant load ratio of 0.1 for the high cycle fatigue tests. The microstructure, tensile properties, resultant fracture behavior of the two materials is presented in the light of results obtained from the uniaxial tensile tests. The conjoint influence of intrinsic microstructural features, nature of loading and specimen properties on the tensile properties is discussed. Also, the macroscopic fracture mode, the intrinsic features on the
fatigue fracture surface and the role of applied stress-microstructural feature interactions in governing failure for the cyclic fatigue properties for both the materials under study Ti- CP (Grade 2) and the “work-horse” alloy Ti-6Al-4V have been discussed in detail.
Careful study of the microstructure for Ti-CP (Grade 2) material at a low magnification revealed the primary alpha (α) grains to be intermingled with small pockets of beta (β) grains. Observation at the higher allowable magnifications of the optical microscope revealed very fine alpha (α) phase lamellae located within the beta (β) grain. The microhardness and macrohardness measurements were consistent through the sheet specimen for Ti- CP (Grade 2) and slightly lower compared to Ti-6Al-4V. However, the macrohardness was marginally higher than the microhardness resulting from the presence of a large volume fraction of the soft alpha phase. The hardness values when plotted reveal marginal spatial variability. Tensile fracture of Ti-CP (Grade 2) was at an inclination to the far field tensile stress axis for both longitudinal and transverse orientations. The overload region revealed a combination of fine microscopic cracks, microscopic voids of varying size and randomly distributed through the surface, and a large population of shallow dimples, features reminiscent of locally brittle and ductile failure mechanisms. The maximum stress (σmaximum) versus fatigue life (Nf) characteristics shown by this material is quite different from those non-ferrous metals that exhibit a well-defined endurance limit. When compared at equal values of maximum stress at a load ratio of 0.1, the fatigue life of the transverse specimen is noticeably greater than the longitudinal counterpart. At equivalent values of maximum elastic strain, the transverse specimens revealed noticeably improved fatigue life as compared one-on-one to the longitudinal counterparts.
Careful observations of the Ti-6Al-4V alloy microstructure over a range of magnifications spanning very low to high magnification revealed a duplex microstructure consisting of the near equiaxed alpha (α) and transformed beta (β) phases. The primary near equiaxed shaped alpha (α) grains (light in color) was well distributed in a lamellar matrix with transformed beta (dark in color). The microhardness and macrohardness values recorded for the Ti-6Al-4V alloy reveal it to be harder than the commercially pure (Grade 2) material. However, for the Ti-6Al-4V alloy the microhardness is noticeably higher than the corresponding macrohardness value that can be ascribed to the presence of a population of processing-related artifacts and the hard beta-phase. Tensile fracture of the Ti-6Al-4V alloy was macroscopically rough and essentially normal to the far field stress axis for the longitudinal orientation and cup-and-cone morphology for the transverse orientation. However, microscopically, the surface was rough and covered with a population of macroscopic and fine microscopic cracks, voids of varying size, a population of shallow dimples of varying size and shape, features reminiscent of locally brittle and ductile failure mechanisms. When compared at equal values of maximum stress at a load ratio of 0.1, there is a marginal to no influence of microstructure on high cycle fatigue life of both orientations of the alloy.