Evaluation of the tensile and fatigue behaviourof a powder metallurgy beryllium/aluminium alloy

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The tensile and fatigue behaviour of a powder metallurgy beryllium/aluminium alloy produced by Brush Wellman (Albemet 562) is determined as a function of temperature. The material is shown to have very high stiffness/density compared with common structural materials and moderate strength up to 232°C. The mechanical properties of the material do not vary significantly as a function of orientation for the extruded plate evaluated in this study. The stiffness of the material can be readily explained using standard composite theory, where the material is treated as a beryllium particle-reinforced aluminium matrix composite. To explain the observed strength levels, a combination of microstructural-based dislocation strengthening mechanisms is proposed to act in combination with continuum mechanics strengthening based on load transfer. Failure analysis reveals that the aluminium regions of the material fail in a ductile dimple fashion, while the beryllium regions exhibit a more brittle cleavage type failure. Fatigue failure was found to initiate at inclusions present in the material, but is still very high relative to conventional aluminium alloys.

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