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Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326 www.actamat-journals.com Consideration of Orowan strengthening effect in
Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326 www.actamat-journals.com Consideration of Orowan strengthening effect in

Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326

Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326 www.actamat-journals.com Consideration of Orowan strengthening effect in

www.actamat-journals.com

Consideration of Orowan strengthening effect in particulate-reinforced metal matrix nanocomposites:

A model for predicting their yield strength

Z. Zhang, D.L. Chen *

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5B 2K3

Received 28 October 2005; received in revised form 17 November 2005; accepted 8 December 2005 Available online 18 January 2006

Abstract

An analytical model for predicting the yield strength of particulate-reinforced metal matrix nanocomposites has been developed. The strengthening effects involving (i) Orowan strengthening effect, (ii) enhanced dislocation density due to the residual plastic strain caused by the difference in the coefficients of thermal expansion between the matrix and particles, and (iii) load-bearing effect have been taken into account in the model. The prediction is in good agreement with the experimental data reported in the literature. 2006 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Metal matrix nanocomposites; Yield strength; Orowan strengthening; Load-bearing effect; Enhanced dislocation density strengthening

1. Introduction

Nanocrystalline materials form an exciting area of mate- rials research because bulk materials with grain sizes of less than 100 nm have properties that are not seen in their microcrystalline counterparts [1,2]. However, nanostruc- tured materials generally suffer from insufficient ductility and reduced toughness compared with the conventional microcrystalline materials. On the other hand, metal matrix nanocomposites (MMNCs) are most promising in produc- ing balanced mechanical properties between nano- and micro-structured materials, i.e., enhanced hardness, Young’s modulus, 0.2% yield strength, ultimate tensile strength and ductility [3–9], due to the addition of nano- sized reinforcement particles into the matrix. To facilitate the development of MMNCs, it is necessary to develop constitutive relationships that can be used to predict the bulk mechanical properties of MMNCs as a function of the reinforcement, matrix, and processing con-

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 416 979 5000x6487; fax: +1 416 979

5265.

E-mail address: dchen@ryerson.ca (D.L. Chen).

ditions. In the past few years, some modeling work [10–13] has been done in this regard. Fan et al. [10] proposed a generalized law of mixture by using a rigorous continuum mechanics analysis and an equivalent microstructural transformation approach. He et al. [11] and Holtz et al. [12] qualitatively explained their results using Fan et al.’s model. Lurie et al. [13] developed a continuum mechanics model by consideration of interactions between the nano- particles and the matrix. However, in order to use the con- tinuum mechanics approach the authors [10–13] tried to modify the interface between the matrix and reinforcement particles. The difficulty with the continuum approach is that it ignores the influence of particles on the microme- chanics of deformation and strengthening mechanisms, such as the location of particles, grain size, and dislocation density [14]. That is to say, the strengthening mechanisms or the types of MMNCs, which are the key factors in dom- inating the mechanical behavior, especially the yield strength, were not fully considered. In the meantime, Ramakrishnan [15] proposed an analytical model for pre- dicting the yield strength of the microsized particulate-rein- forced metal matrix composite (MMCs), using a composite sphere model for the intra-granular type of MMCs and

1359-6462/$ - see front matter 2006 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.scriptamat.2005.12.017

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Z. Zhang, D.L. Chen / Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326

incorporating two improvement parameters associated with the dislocation strengthening of the matrix and the load-bearing effect of the reinforcement. This model, repre- senting an incorporation of both continuum and microme- chanics approaches, has been used to predict the low-cycle fatigue life of discontinuous reinforced MMCs [16,17]. However, Ramakrishnan’s model was applicable only for MMCs containing microsized particles. The objective of this investigation was to model and predict the yield strength of the intra-granular type of MMNCs, which represents one of the most important aspects of the nanocomposite strengthening mechanisms and effects. By considering the strengthening mechanisms of MMNCs, and incorporating Ramakrishnan’s model and the Orowan strengthening effect, an analytical model for predicting the yield strength of particulate-reinforced MMNCs has been proposed. The theoretical predictions based on this model were found to be in good agreement with the experimental data reported in the literature.

2. Model development

Due to the excellent mechanical properties, MMNCs have attracted the interest of many researchers. A lot of work has been done involving different synthesis methods, structures, mechanical properties, and strengthening mech- anisms of MMNCs. Since the strengthening mechanisms of MMNCs are fundamental to the development of the pres- ent model, they are first summarized as follows.

2.1. Orowan strengthening mechanism

Orowan strengthening, caused by the resistance of closely spaced hard particles to the passing of dislocations, is important in aluminium alloys. It is widely acknowl- edged, however, that Orowan strengthening is not signifi- cant in the microsized particulate-reinforced MMCs, because the reinforcement particles are coarse and the interparticle spacing is large. Furthermore, since the rein- forcement is often found to lie on the grain boundaries of the matrix, it is unclear whether the Orowan mechanism can operate at all under these circumstances [18]. For melt processed MMCs with the usually-used particles of 5 lm or larger, Orowan strengthening has indeed been pointed out to be not a major factor [14]. In contrast, due to the pres- ence of highly-dispersed nanosized reinforcement particles (smaller than 100 nm) in a metal matrix, Orowan strengthening becomes more favourable in MMNCs. It has been well established that the presence of a dispersion of fine ( 100 nm) insoluble particles in a metal can consid- erably raise the creep resistance, even for only a small volume fraction (<1%), due to the fact that Orowan bowing is necessary for dislocations to bypass the particles [18]. For composites containing fine particles, strengthening is often explained by the Orowan mechanism [7,19–21]. Shao et al. [7] explained the improved hardness in the nanocom- posite Ni/Al 2 O 3 films by using the Orowan dislocation

bowing mechanism. Thilly et al. [21] observed Orowan loop mechanism and used it to simulate the good mechanical properties of Cu/Nb nanocomposites. It is noted that ther- mal stresses around the nanoparticles are large enough to cause plastic deformation in the matrix and dislocation loops around the vicinity of the nanoparticles [22,23]. In addition, secondary processing, such as extrusion, is used to synthesize MMNCs. It is clear that plastic deformation has occurred during synthesis of MMNCs and Orowan loops are expected to exert a back stress on dislocation sources [24]. Therefore, it is necessary to take into consider- ation the Orowan strengthening in the modeling of MMNCs.

2.2. Enhanced dislocation density strengthening

mechanism

In MMNCs, the increased interfacial area between the reinforcement and matrix contributes to the enhanced mechanical properties due to the nanosized particles. Also because of the thermal mismatch between the reinforce- ment and the matrix, which are in the thermal equilibrium only at the temperature at which they are brought into contact during the process, on cooling from the processing temperature thermal stresses around the nanoparticles large enough to cause plastic deformation are generated in the matrix, especially in the interface region [25]. These stresses reduce quickly with increasing distance from the boundary, which can generate small defects such as dislo- cations in the close vicinity of nanosized particles [23]. The presence of a high dislocation density near the inter- face between the matrix and reinforcement particles has been experimentally observed [26,27].

2.3. Load-bearing effect of the reinforcement

strengthening mechanism

Due to the nanosize of the reinforcement particles and the sound synthesizing methods, there is a strong cohesion at the atomic level between the matrix and particles, i.e., the nanosized particles are directly bonded to the matrix

[28–30].

In general, the yield strength of a composite material is the stress required to operate dislocation sources and is governed by the presence and magnitude of all the obsta- cles that restrict the motion of dislocations in the matrix. For MMCs, Ramakrishnan [15] proposed an analytical model to predict the yield strength by incorporating a mod- ified shear lag model (continuum mechanics approach) and an enhanced dislocation density model (micromechanics strengthening approach),

ð1Þ

where r yc m is the yield strength of the MMCs, r ym is the yield

strength of the monolithic matrix, f l is the improvement factor associated with the load-bearing effect of the rein-

forcement, f d is the improvement factor related to the

m ¼ r ym ð1 þ f l Þð1 þ f d Þ;

r yc

Z. Zhang, D.L. Chen / Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326

1323

dislocation density in the matrix, caused by the thermal mismatch between the matrix and the reinforcement particles. As stated above, for MMNCs Orowan strengthening mechanism should be taken into consideration. When several strengthening effects are simultaneously present, one way would be to use the rules of addition of the strengthening contributions, e.g., by Lilholt [31]. In this investigation Ramakrishnan’s approach [15] is considered, since it was shown that both additive and synergistic effects could be taken into account. Thus, the yield strength of particulate-reinforced MMNCs, r yc , may be expressed as,

r yc ¼ r ym ð1 þ f l Þð1 þ f d Þð1 þ f Orowan Þ; ð2Þ

where f Orowan is the improvement factor associated with Orowan strengthening of the nanoparticles. For particu- late-reinforced composites the general expression for f l is

[15,16,32],

f l ¼ 0:5V p ;

ð3Þ

where V p is the volume fraction of the reinforcement nano- particles. f d has been expressed to be [33],

f d ¼ kG m b

where G m is the shear modulus of the matrix, b is the Bur- gers vector of the matrix, k is a constant, approximately equal to 1.25, q is the enhanced dislocation density which is assumed to be entirely due to the residual plastic strain developed due to the difference in the coefficients of thermal expansion (D CTE) between the reinforcement phase and the matrix during the post-fabrication cooling. For equiaxed particulates the following expression was reported [34],

q ffiffiffi = r ym ;

p

ð4Þ

q ¼ 12

Da D TV

p

bd p ð1 V p Þ ;

ð5Þ

where d p is the particle size, D a is the difference in the coefficients of the thermal expansion, DT is the difference between the processing and test temperatures. The improvement factor f Orowan related to the Orowan strengthening of nanoparticles introduced in Eq. (2) can be expressed as,

ð6Þ

f Orowan ¼ D r Orowan = r ym ;

where D r Orowan has been described by the Orowan–Ashby equation [24],

Dr Orowan ¼ 0:13G m b

k

ln b ;

r

ð7Þ

where r is the particle radius, r = d p /2, and k is the interpar- ticle spacing, expressed as [16,35],

k

d p

"

1

2V

p

1

3 1 # .

ð8Þ

Substituting Eqs. (3)–(8) into Eq. (2) and considering DT = T process T test , Da = a m a p , one can derive the fol- lowing equation for the yield strength of MMNCs,

600 dp=20 nm dp=30 nm 500 dp=40 nm dp=50 nm dp=70 nm 400 dp=100 nm
600
dp=20 nm
dp=30 nm
500
dp=40 nm
dp=50 nm
dp=70 nm
400
dp=100 nm
300
200
100
0
0
0.01
0.02
0.03
0.04
0.05
0.06
Yield strength, MPa

Volume fraction of nanoparticles

Fig. 1. Yield strength as a function of volume fraction of nanoparticles for different particle sizes in nano-Al 2 O 3 particulate-reinforced magnesium nanocomposites tested at 20 C.

r yc ¼ ð1 þ 0:5V p Þ

r ym þ A þ B þ AB ;

r

ym

A ¼ 1:25G m b

s

ffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi

12ðT process T test Þð a m a p ÞV p

bd p ð1 V p Þ

B

¼

0:13G m b

d p

d p

1

2V

p

1

3 1

2b .

ln

;

ð9Þ

ð9aÞ

ð9bÞ

Fig. 1 presents the analytical results of the effect of the

volume fraction (V p ) on the yield strength based on Eq. (9) for different sizes of reinforcement nanoparticu- lates (d p ). The data for the nano-Al 2 O 3 particulate- reinforced magnesium nanocomposites tested at room temperature [8,36] are used: r ym = 97 MPa, E m = 42.8 GPa,

m = 0.3, G m = E m /[2(1 + m )] = 16.5 GPa, b = 0.32 nm,

a m = 28.4 · 10 6 ( C) 1 , a p = 9.0 · 10 6 ( C) 1 , T process =

300

C, T test = 20 C, and d p = 20, 30, 40, 50, 70 and

100

nm. Two trends can be seen from Fig. 1: (i) a higher vol-

ume fraction of nanoparticles leads to a higher yield strength; (ii) the nanoparticle size has a strong effect on the yield strength. A small volume fraction of nanoparticu- lates of less than 0.06 can significantly improve the yield strength of MMNCs.

3. Verification of the model and discussion

The yield strength predicted via the present model, i.e., Eq. (9), in a nano-Al 2 O 3 particulate-reinforced magnesium nanocomposite as a function of nanoparticle size can be seen in Fig. 2. Clearly, the nanoparticle size has a signifi- cant effect on the yield strength when the volume fraction is slightly higher, e.g., V p P 0.01. Another important point is that the improvement in the yield strength of the MMNCs becomes very strong when the nanoparticle size is smaller than about 100 nm. This is in agreement with

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Z. Zhang, D.L. Chen / Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326

1000 Vp=0.001 900 Vp=0.005 Vp=0.01 800 Vp=0.02 700 Vp=0.03 Vp=0.04 600 Vp=0.05 500 400 300
1000
Vp=0.001
900
Vp=0.005
Vp=0.01
800
Vp=0.02
700
Vp=0.03
Vp=0.04
600
Vp=0.05
500
400
300
200
100
0
0
50
100
150
200
Yield strength, MPa

Nanoparticle size, nm

Fig. 2. Yield strength as a function of nanoparticle size for different volume fractions in nano-Al 2 O 3 particulate-reinforced magnesium nano- composites tested at 20 C.

the experimental results [8,36], and provides a theoretical support to the terminology of nanotechnology, e.g., defined by the US National Science Foundation [37], where ‘‘

The novel and differentiating properties and functions

are developed at a critical length scale of matter typically ’’

under 100 nm

the area of nanocomposites have also done their research by controlling the nanoparticle size below 100 nm. Thus, 100 nm is the critical size for nanoparticulate-reinforced MMNCs to produce excellent mechanical properties, com- pared to the counterpart of microparticulate-reinforced MMCs. Good agreement between the present model prediction, based on Eq. (9), and the experimental data is observed and shown in Fig. 3. It is seen that the present model can be used to better predict the yield strength than Rama-

is specified. Most researchers [9,14] in

250 Present model, Eq. (9) Experimental data [8] Ramakrishnan's model [15] 200 150 100 50
250
Present model, Eq. (9)
Experimental data [8]
Ramakrishnan's model [15]
200
150
100
50
0.001
0.006
0.011
0.016
Yield strength, MPa

Volume fraction of nanoparticles

Fig. 3. A comparison of the present model with Ramakrishnan’s model [15] and with the experimental data for nano-Al 2 O 3 particulate-reinforced magnesium nanocomposites tested at 20 C [8].

krishnan’s model [15], thus indicating that Orowan

strengthening effect should be taken into account in MMNCs. Since the tensile bar contained rod shaped

Al 2 O 3 nanoparticles [8], the strengthening effect of such a rod shape should be higher than the spherical one [24]. In our model all nanoparticles were assumed to be spherical. This is probably why our model slightly underestimates the first two experimental data. On the other hand, with increasing volume fraction of the reinforcement particles, the probability of forming the processing-induced voids becomes higher, leading to a degradation of the yield strength [38]. This would be the main reason why the third experimental value was somewhat lower than our model prediction, because in the present model no porosity was considered within the nanocomposites. To further verify our model, another comparison between the present model prediction and the experimental data reported in Ref. [39] is shown in Fig. 4, where the effect of the particle shape related to Orowan strengthening is also considered [24,39]. The following data for the Y 2 O 3 - reinforced titanium nanocomposites tested at room tem- perature are used: r ym = 330 MPa [39]; G m = 44.8 GPa,

a p =

b = 0.29 nm

for A 1 , B 1 , C 1 , D 1

9.3 · 10 6 ( C) 1 [42], T process = 827 C

and 900 C for A 2 , B 2 , C 2 , and d p = 2, 10, 9, 13, 40, 10 and 30 nm [39]. On the basis of the values of the weight fraction given in Ref. [39], the following converted values

of volume fraction V p = 0.25, 0.38, 0.59, 0.59, 0.27, 0.41 and 0.54% are utilized. Again, good agreement between the model prediction for the minimum sized reinforcement particles and the experimental data is seen in Fig. 4, where a combined effect

[40];

a m = 11.9 · 10 6 ( C) 1

[41],

900 800 700 600 500 400 400 500 600 700 800 900 Experimental YS, MPa
900
800
700
600
500
400
400
500
600
700
800
900
Experimental YS, MPa

YS predicted by present model, MPa

Fig. 4. A comparison of the prediction via the present model with the experimental data for Y 2 O 3 particulate-reinforced titanium nanocompos- ites tested at room temperature, where the error bar was based on the range given in Ref. [39].

Z. Zhang, D.L. Chen / Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 1321–1326

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fl 1 fd fOrowan 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 Improvement factor
fl
1
fd
fOrowan
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0
0.02
0.04
0.06
Improvement factor

Volume fraction of nanoparticles

Fig. 5. A comparison among the three improvement factors (f l , f d , f Orowan ) as a function of the volume fraction of nanoparticles in nano-Al 2 O 3 particulate-reinforced Mg nanocomposites.

of the variation in the volume fraction of nanoparticles, thermomechanical treatment, and microstructure has been taken into consideration. The above comparison between the present model prediction and the experimental data corroborates that it is necessary to consider Orowan strengthening in MMNCs. Fig. 5 shows an example of the comparison among the three improvement factors (f l , f d , f Orowan ) as a function of the volume fraction of nanoparticles with a size of 50 nm in nano-Al 2 O 3 particulate-reinforced Mg nanocomposites. It is also seen that Orowan strengthening plays a significant role in MMNCs, while the load-bearing effect becomes very small.

4. Conclusions

(1) A model for predicting the yield strength of intra- granular type of metal matrix nanocomposites (MMNCs) is proposed on the basis of the strengthen- ing effects characterized by the modified shear lag model, enhanced dislocation density model, and the Orowan strengthening effect. (2) It is shown that the yield strength of MMNCs is governed by the size and volume fraction of nanopar- ticles, the difference in the coefficients of thermal expansion between the matrix and nanoparticles, and the temperature change after processing. (3) The present model indicates that 100 nm is a critical size of nanoparticles to improve the yield strength of MMNCs, below which the yield strength increases remarkably with decreasing particle size. (4) The proposed model shows excellent agreement with the experimental data reported in the literature, indi- cating that it is necessary to consider Orowan strengthening in MMNCs.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the financial support provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Re- search Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Premier’s Re- search Excellence Award (PREA).

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