Extreme shear-deformation-induced modification of defect structures and hierarchical microstructure in an Al–Si alloy

B. Gwalani; M. Olszta; S. Varma; L. Li; A. Soulami; E. Kautz; S. Pathak; A. Rohatgi; P. V. Sushko; S. Mathaudhu; C. A. Powell; A. Devaraj

Communications Materials 1 (2020) 45474

Extreme shear deformation is used for several material processing methods and is unavoidable in many engineering applications in which two surfaces are in relative motion against each other while in physical contact. The mechanistic understanding of the microstructural evolution of multi-phase metallic alloys under extreme shear deformation is still in its infancy. Here, we highlight the influence of shear deformation on the microstructural hierarchy and mechanical properties of a binary as-cast Al-4 at.% Si alloy. Shear-deformation-induced grain refinement, multiscale fragmentation of the eutectic Si-lamellae, and metastable solute saturated phases with distinctive defect structures led to a two-fold increase in the flow stresses determined by micropillar compression testing. These results highlight that shear deformation can achieve non-equilibrium microstructures with enhanced mechanical properties in Al–Si alloys. The experimental and computational insights obtained here are especially crucial for developing predictive models for microstructural evolution of metals under extreme shear deformation.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43246-020-00087-x