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Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) for Metals: Using Multiscale Modeling to Invigorate Engineering Design with Science by Mark F. Horstemeyer

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8.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE MECHANISMS OF FATIGUE IN CAST ALLOYS

Similar to the case study of the control arm in Chapter 7, we employ different Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) tools to analyze the fatigue properties in this chapter’s case study of the control arm. The mechanical, physical, and casting properties of the control arm A356 aluminum alloy make it attractive for use in cheaper and lighter engineering components. However, to successfully use cast A356 aluminum in long life components, one must understand its resistance to fatigue. The common industrial practice in determining failure locations is to perform finite element analysis to obtain the highest stresses/strains in a particular region of the material. Some material from that region is then extracted, and small coupons are extracted for uniaxial, completely reversed tension–compression fatigue tests. These results are used to estimate the life of the component. Other material typically adjacent to the coupons is extracted for microstructure/inclusion analysis. Unfortunately, regions that may be important from the stress analysis may not be important to the microstructural analysis so the common practice methodology can lead to errors and more importantly to at-risk components. Since the combination of the microstructure/inclusion content with the stress analysis can be combined to determine a precise location for fatigue failure, then one must develop a multistage fatigue (MSF) that includes both ...

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