Issue 35

A. Pawełek et alii, Frattura ed Integrità Strutturale, 35 (2016) 21-30; DOI: 10.3221/IGF-ESIS.35.03 22 technological difficulties. Our previous investigations of mechanical properties of alloys with the application of AE method were conducted for the Mg-Li-Al and related composites generally in the context of the method of intensive deformation processes [5-9] leading to their excellent mechanical properties, such as great strength and plasticity or even superplasticity. On the other hand, our investigations of metal and alloy plastic instability using the AE technique were carried out [10-12] mainly in the context of basic aspects of PL effect, twinning or shear band in both poly- and single metal and alloy crystals. The fracture and strengthening properties of Mg-Li based alloys (and composites) were investigated, for example in [13-16], but without the use of AE method, which proved to be a very useful technique of material examination. In this work the results of the investigations of the correlation between the AE phenomenon, the plastic instability, induced by PL effect, twining or shear bands, and the both, intergranular and transcrystalline fracture of Mg4Li4Zn and Mg4Li5Al alloys subjected to tensile and compression tests at wide range of elevated temperatures are presented. Alloys based on magnesium with lithium, as the lightest ones from among the known metallic construction materials, are very attractive from the point of view of their application as the materials for light, yet durable constructions to be used in the automotive industry (e.g. car engine housings) or aerospace (e.g. light housings of computers). The basic Mg-Li alloys exist in three phase areas. The hexagonal  phase appears in the concentration range of Li up to 4 wt.%. If the content of Li is more than 12 wt.% - the  phase of cubic lattice occurs. The alloys of Li content from 4% up to 12 wt.% form the  +  two-phase mixture. The mechanical properties of  phase are worse from that of the  phase which is more plastic and thus reveals good machinability and weldability. Alloying additions, e.g. Al (or Zn) from 3% to 5%, slightly increase the density of the alloy, but lead to the precipitation of coherent particles of transition phase,  -MgLi 2 Al, which additionally strengthens the matrix and leads to the improvement of mechanical properties [14]. The present paper addresses the optical microscopic, as well as TEM and SEM observations of the failure of samples after tensile and compression tests. E XPERIMENTAL Compression and tensile tests he compression tests were carried out using INSTRON-3382 tensile testing machine, additionally equipped with a specially constructed channel-die which guaranteed plastic flow only in the compression direction (normal direction – ND) and in the direction parallel to the channel axis (elongation direction – ED). In this way the plane state of strains was ensured, since the deformation was impossible in the direction perpendicular to the channel walls (transverse direction – TD). The traverse velocity of the testing machine was 0.05 mm/min (the compression speed was 10 -3 s -1 ). Samples of the Mg4Li5Al alloys for compression tests had the cubic shape of side 10 mm. The overall look on the testing arrangement and the instrumental details are presented in Fig.1. Figure 1 : The experimental set-up used to record the AE signals generated in compressed samples:1 – AE analyser, 2 - AE sensor, 3 – Channel-die used as sample holder. The Mg-Li and Mg-Li-Al alloys were produced in cooperation with the Institute of Materials and Machine Mechanics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. The basic Mg-Li alloys were obtained by the method of induction melting of magnesium of 99.99% purity and lithium of 99.5% purity. Series of Mg-Li and Mg-Li-Al alloys used in this study were prepared by casting of raw materials in a steel crucible at 800°C with subsequent pouring into a cooled steel mould in a T