Mechanical Flow Response and Anisotropy of Ultra-Fine Grained Magnesium and Zinc Alloys



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Hexagonal closed packed (hcp) materials, in contrast to cubic materials, possess several processing challenges due to their anisotropic structural response, the wide variety of deformation textures they exhibit, and limited ductility at room temperature. The aim of this work is to investigate, both experimentally and theoretically, the effect os severe plastic deformation, ultrafine grain sizes, crystallographic textures and number of phases on the flow stress anisotropy and tension compression asymmetry, and the mechanisms responsible for these phenomena in two hcp materials: AZ31B Mg alloy consisting of one phase and Zn-8wt.% Al that has an hcp matrix with a secondary facecentered cubic (fcc) phase. Mg and its alloys have high specific strength that can potentially meet the high demand for light weight structural materials and low fuelconsumption in transportation. Zn-Al alloys, on the other hand, can be potential substitutes for several ferrous and non-ferrous materials because of their good mechanical and tribological properties. Both alloys have been successfully processed using equal channel angular extrusion (ECAE) following different processing routes in order to produce samples with a wide variety of microstructures and crystallographic textures for revealing the relationship between microstructural parameters, crystallographic texture and resulting flow stress anisotropy at room temperature. For AZ31B Mg alloy, the texture evolution during ECAE following conventional and hybrid ECAE routes was successfully predicted using visco-plastic self-consistent (VPSC) crystal plasticity model. The flow stress anisotropy and tension-compression (T/C) asymmetry of the as received and processed samples at room temperature were measured and predicted using the same VPSC model coupled with a dislocation-based hardening scheme. The governing mechanisms behind these phenomena are revealed as functions of grains size and crystallographic texture. It was found that the variation in flow stress anisotropy and T/C asymmetry among samples can be explained based on the texture that is generated after each processing path. Therefore, it is possible to control the flow anisotropy and T/C asymmetry in this alloy and similar Mg alloys by controlling the processing route and number of passes, and the selection of processing conditions can be optimized using VPSC simulations. In Zn-8wt.% Al alloy, the hard phase size, morphology, and distribution were found to control the anisotropy in the flow strength and elongation to failure of the ECAE processed samples.