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On the effects of microstructure on the mechanical properties of open-pore Al–11Zn foams

Matz, A.M. and Matz, B.S. and Parsa, A.B. and Jost, N. and Eggeler, G.

MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING A
Volume: 759 Pages: 552-564
DOI: 10.1016/j.msea.2019.05.087
Published: 2019

Abstract
The mechanical properties of investment casted open-pore metal foams have been investigated on the example of the binary alloy Al–11Zn. The samples were subjected to different cooling conditions subsequent to casting and to different homogenization and ageing treatments. Variation in cooling was done either by quenching the mold in water or slowly cooling it in air. Homogenization and ageing varied in terms of temperature and time. The effects of the different treatments were investigated through microstructural and mechanical characterization methods. Using TEM, we found that the presence of GP zones and their morphological arrangement are the main factors dominating the mechanical performance. Micro- and nanoindentation testing of single foam struts reveal maximum hardness H when room temperature ageing was applied. Ageing at a temperature of 150 °C results in the lowest H in the present study; that is approximately 2/3 of the hardness achieved when ageing at room temperature. This can also be confirmed by the strength of non-porous bulk material obtained by tensile tests, which further show an increase in ductility up to a factor of 5 due to ageing at elevated temperatures. By compression testing of open-pore Al–11Zn foams, we notice that the presence of the microstructural effects varies in extent as a function of the strain ε. At low strains, we observe differences in mechanical performance to a high extent, becoming less with increasing compaction of the samples until they behave as non-porous bulk material. Based on these findings, we deduce a strong interaction of the structural morphology of the foam and its microstructure that determines the mechanical properties dominated by strength and ductility of the base material. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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