Short and long fatigue crack growth in a SiC reinforced aluminium alloy

Shinji Kumai*, Julia E. King, John F. Knott

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Fatigue crack growth behaviour in a 15 wt% SiC particulate reinforced 6061 aluminium alloy has been examined using pre-cracked specimens. Crack initiation and early growth of fatigue cracks in smooth specimens has also been investigated using the technique of periodic replication. The composite contained a bimodal distribution of SiC particle sizes, and detailed attention was paid to interactions between the SiC particles and the growing fatigue-crack tip. At low stress intensity levels, the proportion of coarse SiC particles on the fatigue surfaces was much smaller than that on the metallographic sections, indicating that the fatigue crack tends to run through the matrix avoiding SiC particles. As the stress intensity level increases, the SiC particles ahead of the growing fatigue crack tip are fractured and the fatigue crack then links the fractured particles. The contribution of this monotonic fracture mode resulted in a higher growth rate for the composite than for the unreinforced alloy. An increase in the proportion of cracked, coarse SiC particles on the fatigue surface was observed for specimens tested at a higher stress ratio.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)511-524
    Number of pages14
    JournalFatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 1990


    • aluminum metallography
    • metals and alloys
    • fatigue metals testing
    • silicon carbide
    • silicon carbide particle reinforcement
    • aluminum and alloys
    • metallic matrix composites


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