Oxide fiber-reinforced Ni-base composites have long been considered as attractive heat-resistant materials. After several decades of active research, however, interest in these materials began to decline around mid-1990’s due chiefly to 1) a lack of manufacturing technology to grow inexpensive single-crystal oxide fibers to be used in structural composites, and 2) fiber strength loss during processing due to chemical interactions with reactive solutes in the matrix. The cost disadvantage has been mitigated to a large extent by the development of innovative fiber fabrication processes such as the Internal Crystallization Method (ICM) that produces monocrystalline oxide fibers in a cost-effective manner. Fiber strength loss has been an equally restrictive issue but recent work has shown that it may be possible to design creep-resistant composites even when fiber surface reconstruction from chemical interactions has degraded the strength of extracted fibers tested outside the matrix. The key issue is the optimization of the composite- and interface structure. Reaction-formed defects may be healed by the matrix (or a suitable coating material) so that the fiber residing in the matrix may exhibit diminished sensitivity to flaws as compared to fibers extracted from the matrix and tested in isolation of the matrix. Generally, the Ni-base/Al2O3 composites exhibit acceptable levels of wettability and interface strength (further improved with the aid of reactive solutes), which are required for elevated-temperature creep-resistance. In order to harness the full potential of these composites, the quality of the interface as manifested in the fiber/matrix wettability, interface composition, interphase morphology, and interface strength must be designed. We identify key issues related to the measurement of contact angle, interface strength, and chemical and structural properties at the fiber/matrix interface in the Ni/alumina composites, and present the current state-ofthe-art in understanding and designing the Ni/alumina interface. There should be no doubt that optimization of the interface- and composite microstructure through judicious control of the fabrication process and surface modification shall yield technologically promising Ni-base/oxide fiber composites.
Lead-free alloys containing various amounts of zinc (4.5%, 9%, 13%) and constant copper addition (1%) were discussed. The results of microstructure examinations carried out by light microscopy (qualitative and quantitative) and by SEM were presented. In the light microscopy, a combinatorial method was used for the quantitative evaluation of microstructure. In general, this method is based on the phase quanta theory according to which every microstructure can be treated as an arrangement of phases/structural components in the matrix material. Based on this method, selected geometrical parameters of the alloy microstructure were determined. SEM examinations were based on chemical analyses carried out in microregions by EDS technique. The aim of the analyses was to identify the intermetallic phases/compounds occurring in the examined alloys. In fatigue testing, a modified low cycle fatigue test method (MLCF) was used. Its undeniable advantage is the fact that each time, using one sample only, several mechanical parameters can be estimated. As a result of structure examinations, the effect of alloying elements on the formation of intermetallic phases and compounds identified in the examined lead-free alloys was determined. In turn, the results of mechanical tests showed the effect of intermetallic phases identified in the examined alloys on their fatigue life. Some concepts and advantages of the use of the combinatorial and MLCF methods in materials research were also presented.
The study includes the results of research conducted on selected lead-free binary solder alloys designed for operation at high temperatures. The results of qualitative and quantitative metallographic examinations of SnZn alloys with various Zn content are presented. The quantitative microstructure analysis was carried out using a combinatorial method based on phase quanta theory, per which any microstructure can be treated as an array of elements disposed in the matrix material. Fatigue tests were also performed using the capabilities of a modified version of the LCF method hereinafter referred to in short as MLCF, which is particularly useful in the estimation of mechanical parameters when there are difficulties in obtaining many samples normally required for the LCF test. The fatigue life of alloys was analyzed in the context of their microstructure. It has been shown that the mechanical properties are improved with the Zn content increasing in the alloy. However, the best properties were obtained in the alloy with a chemical composition close to the eutectic system, when the Zn-rich precipitates showed the most preferred morphological characteristics. At higher content of Zn, a strong structural notch was formed in the alloy because of the formation in the microstructure of a large amount of the needle-like Zn-rich precipitates deteriorating the mechanical characteristics. Thus, the results obtained during previous own studies, which in the field of mechanical testing were based on static tensile test only, have been confirmed. It is interesting to note that during fatigue testing, both significant strengthening and weakening of the examined material can be expected. The results of fatigue tests performed on SnZn alloys have proved that in this case the material was softened.
The results of studies presented in this article are an example of the research activity of the authors related to lead-free alloys. The studies covered binary SnZn90 and SnZn95 lead-free alloys, including their microstructure and complex mechanical characteristics. The microstructure was examined by both light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The identification of alloy chemical composition in micro-areas was performed by SEM/EDS method. As regards light microscopy, the assessment was of both qualitative and quantitative character. The determination of the geometrical parameters of microstructure was based on an original combinatorial method using phase quantum theory. Comprehensive characterization of mechanical behavior with a focus on fatigue life of alloys was performed by means of the original modified low cycle fatigue method (MLCF) adapted to the actually available test machine. The article discusses the fatigue life of binary SnZn90 and SnZn95 alloys in terms of their microstructure. Additionally, the benefits resulting from the use of the combinatorial method in microstructure examinations and MLCF test in the quick estimation of several mechanical parameters have been underlined.
The article presents the study results of Sn-Zn lead-free solders with the various Zn content. The results concern the hypoeutectic, eutectic and hypereutectic alloys containing respectively 4.5% Zn, 9% Zn and 13.5% Zn. Moreover, these alloys contain the constant Ag (1%) addition. The aim of the study was to determine the microstructural conditionings of their fatigue life. In particular it was focused on answer the question what meaning can be assigned to the Ag addition in the chemical composition of binary Sn-Zn alloys. The research includes a qualitative and quantitative assessments of the alloy microstructures, that have been carried out in the field of light microscopy (LM). In order to determine some geometrical parameters of the microstructure of alloys the combinatorial method based on the phase quanta theory was applied. Moreover, for the identification necessities the chemical analyses in the micro-areas by SEM/EDS technics were also performed. Based on the SEM/EDS results the phases and intermetallic compounds existing in the examined lead-free solders were identified. The mechanical characteristics were determined by means of the modified low cycle test (MLCF). Based on this method and on the results obtained every time from only one sample the dozen of essential mechanical parameters were evaluated. The research results were the basis of analyzes concerning the effects of microstructural geometrical parameters of lead-free alloys studied on their fatigue life at ambient temperature.
The paper describes the studies of ternary SnZn9Al1.5 lead-free alloy from the viewpoint of its mechanical behavior as well as microstructure examined by the light and scanning electron microscopy. The authors focused their attention specifically on the fatigue parameters determined by the original modified low-cycle fatigue method (MLCF), which in a quick and economically justified way allows determination of a number of mechanical parameters based on the measurement data coming from one test sample only. The effect of the addition of 1.5% Al to the binary eutectic SnZn9 alloy on its microstructure and the obtained level of mechanical parameters was analyzed. The phases and intermetallic compounds occurring in the alloy were identified based on the chemical analysis carried out in micro-areas by the SEM/EDS technique. It was shown that the addition of 1.5% Al to the binary eutectic SnZn9 alloy resulted in a more favorable microstructure and consequently had a positive effect on the mechanical parameters of the alloy. Based on the conducted research, it was recommended to use a combinatorial method based on the phase quanta theory to quickly evaluate the microstructure and the original MLCF method to determine a number of mechanical parameters.