Effects of microstructure on the short fatigue crack initiation and propagation characteristics of biomedical αlβ titanium alloys

Toshikazu Akahori, Mitsuo Niinomi, Kei Ichi Fukunaga, Ikuhiro Inagaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents the results of a study of the effects of microstructure on the fatigue strength and the short fatigue crack initiation and propagation characteristics of a biomedical α/β titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-7Nb. The results are compared to those obtained from a T1-6Al-4V extra-low interstitial (ELI) alloy. Fatigue crack initiation occurs mainly at primary α grain boundaries in an equiaxed α structure, whereas, in a Widmanstätten α structure, initiation occurs within the α colonies and prior β grains, where α plates are inclined at around 45 deg to the stress-axis direction. In an equiaxed α structure, the short fatigue crack initiation and propagation life, where the length of the crack (a) is in a microstructurally short fatigue-crack regime (2a < 50 μm), occupies around 50 pct of the total fatigue life. On the other hand, the fatigue crack in a Widmanstätten α structure initiates at very early stages of fatigue, and, therefore, the fatigue crack-initiation life occupies a few percentages of the total fatigue life in an α structure. Then, the short fatigue crack propagates rapidly and is arrested at the grain boundaries of α colonies or prior β grains for a relatively long period, until the short crack passes through the boundaries to specimen failure. Therefore, the short fatigue crack-arrest life occupies more than 90 pct of the total fatigue life in a Widmanstätten α structure. These trends are similar between the Ti-6Al-7Nb and Ti-6Al-4V ELI alloys and biomedical α/β titanium alloys. The total fatigue life for the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy with an equiaxed α structure is changed by the volume fraction of primary α phase and the cooling rate after solution treatment. By increasing the volume fraction of the primary α phase from 0 to 70 pct, the fatigue limit of the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy is raised. Changing the cooling rate after solution treatment by switching from air cooling to water quenching improves the fatigue limit of the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy significantly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1949-1958
Number of pages10
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys

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