Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Strength, Deformation, Fracture Behaviour and Ductility of Aluminium-Lithium Alloys

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2-1990


The ever increasing need for high strength, improved performance, lightweight and cost-effective materials has resulted in significant improvements and development of new aluminium alloys for structural applications. Lithium additions to aluminium have the potential for providing a class of high strength alloys with exceptional properties suitable for weight-critical applications. In this paper, published studies of composition-processing-microstructure relationships are discussed. Contributions to strength of the solid solution are discussed with reference to the presence of lithium in solid solution, the presence of coherent, ordered precipitates in the matrix and the co-precipitation of binary, ternary and more complex strengthening phases. Microstructural influences on strength are discussed with reference to metallurgical variables. These variables include the intrinsic microstructural features; the presence of dispersoids, the nature and type of matrix strengthening precipitates and the presence of denuded zones adjacent to grain boundaries. The extrinsic and intrinsic micromechanisms governing the deformation characteristics and fracture behaviour are critically examined with specific reference to ageing condition of the alloy, the matrix slip characteristics, and the nature, volume fraction and distribution of strengthening precipitates. The deleterious effects of strain localization and the exacerbating effect of precipitate-free zones are also highlighted. The micromechanics governing the fracture processes are examined and the sequence of events in the fracture process is reviewed in light of the specific role of several concurrent factors involving nature and volume fraction of second-phase particles, deformation mode, and dislocation-microstructure interactions. Past attempts made to improve the tensile ductility and mechanical response of these alloys are also examined so as to provide a better basis for understanding processing-microstructure-deformation interactions.

Publication Title

Journal of Materials Science





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