Fatigue and fracture mechanisms have been studied in a steel-based metal matrix composite (MMC), comprising a 316L austenitic matrix reinforced with 25 wt.% particulate titanium diboride (TiB2). The fracture toughness was determined in the as-HIPped condition as being slightly below 30 MPa√m. Fatigue crack growth rates have been determined, and corrected for the effects of crack closure. The fracture surfaces have been studied to determine the mechanisms of damage during crack advance, which are determined as matrix fatigue, reinforcement particle fracture, and ductile rupture of the matrix. We show that the occurrence of damage mechanisms during fatigue of the material is linked to Kmax, rather than to ΔK. This is rationalised in terms of a semi-cohesive process zone within the monotonic plastic zone ahead of the crack tip.
Bibliographical noteThis paper is available on the Open University repository at: http://oro.open.ac.uk/35760/1/1-s2.0-S0142112312002800-main.pdf
- Metal matrix composites
- Fatigue crack growth
- Particle fracture
- Fracture surface analysis