On the deformation behavior and cracking of ductile iron; effect of microstructure

Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on the effect of microstructural variation on the mechanical properties and deformation behavior of ductile iron. To research and determine these effects, two grades of ductile iron, (i) GJS-500-7 and (ii) high silicon GJS-500-14, were cast in a geometry containing several plates with different section thicknesses in order to produce microstructural variation. Microstructural investigations as well as tensile and hardness tests were performed on the casting plates. The results revealed higher ferrite fraction, graphite particle count, and yield strength in the high silicon GJS-500-14 grade compared to the GJS-500-7 grade.To study the relationship between the microstructural variation and tensile behavior on macroscale, tensile stress-strain response was characterized using the Ludwigson equation. The obtained tensile properties were modeled, based on the microstructural characteristics, using multiple linear regression and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The models showed that silicon content, graphite particle count, ferrite fraction, and fraction of porosity are the major contributing factors that influence tensile behavior. The models were entered into a casting process simulation software, and the simulated microstructure and tensile properties were validated using the experimental data. This enabled the opportunity to predict tensile properties of cast components with similar microstructural characteristics.To investigate deformation behavior on micro-scale, a method was developed to quantitatively measure strain in the microstructure, utilizing the digital image correlation (DIC) technique together with in-situ tensile testing. In this method, a pit-etching procedure was developed to generate a random speckle pattern, enabling DIC strain measurement to be conducted in the matrix and the area between the graphite particles. The method was validated by benchmarking the measured yield strength with the material’s standard yield strength.The microstructural deformation behavior under tensile loading was characterized. During elastic deformation, strain mapping revealed a heterogeneous strain distribution in the microstructure, as well as shear bands that formed between graphite particles. The crack was initiated at the stress ranges in which a kink occurred in the tensile curve, indicating the dissipation of energy during both plastic deformation and crack initiation. A large amount of strain localization was measured at the onset of the micro-cracks on the strain maps. The micro-cracks were initiated at local strain levels higher than 2%, suggesting a threshold level of strain required for micro-crack initiation.A continuum Finite Element (FE) model containing a physical length scale was developed to predict strain on the microstructure of ductile iron. The material parameters for this model were calculated by optimization, utilizing the Ramberg-Osgood equation. The predicted strain maps were compared to the strain maps measured by DIC, both qualitatively and quantitatively. To a large extent, the strain maps were in agreement, resulting in the validation of the model on micro-scale.In order to perform a micro-scale characterization of dynamic deformation behavior, local strain distribution on the microstructure was studied by performing in-situ cyclic tests using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). A novel method, based on the focused ion beam (FIB) milling, was developed to generate a speckle pattern on the microstructure of the ferritic ductile iron (GJS-500-14 grade) to enable quantitative DIC strain measurement to be performed. The results showed that the maximum strain concentration occurred in the vicinity of the micro-cracks, particularly ahead of the micro-crack tip.