Publications

The dual role of martensitic transformation in fatigue crack growth

Wang, X. and Liu, C. and Sun, B. and Ponge, D. and Jiang, C. and Raabe, D.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Volume: 119 Pages:
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2110139119
Published: 2022

Abstract
Deformation-induced martensitic transformation (DIMT) has been used for designing high-performance alloys to prevent structural failure under static loads. Its effectiveness against fatigue, however, is unclear. This limits the application of DIMT for parts that are exposed to variable loads, although such scenarios are the rule and not the exception for structural failure. Here we reveal the dual role of DIMT in fatigue crack growth through in situ observations. Two antagonistic fatigue mechanisms mediated by DIMT are identified, namely, transformation-mediated crack arresting, which prevents crack growth, and transformation-mediated crack coalescence, which promotes crack growth. Both mechanisms are due to the hardness and brittleness of martensite as a transformation product, rather than to the actual transformation process itself. In fatigue crack growth, the prevalence of one mechanism over the other critically depends on the crack size and the mechanical stability of the parent austenite phase. Elucidating the two mechanisms and their interplay allows for the microstructure design and safe use of metastable alloys that experience fatigue loads. The findings also generally reveal how metastable alloy microstructures must be designed for materials to be fatigue-resistant. © 2022 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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