Journal of Materials Research and Technology Journal of Materials Research and Technology
J Mater Res Technol 2017;6:136-46 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2016.10.003
Original Article
Phase characterisation and mechanical behaviour of Fe–B modified Cu–Zn–Al shape memory alloys
Kenneth Kanayo Alanemea,, , Eloho Anita Okotetea, Nthabiseng Maledib
a Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
b School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Received 18 June 2016, Accepted 13 October 2016
Abstract

The microstructures, phase characteristics and mechanical behaviour of Cu–Zn–Al alloys modified with Fe, B, and Fe–B mixed micro-alloying additions has been investigated. Cu–Zn–Al alloys were produced by casting with and without the addition of the microelements (Fe, B and Fe–B). The alloys were subjected to a homogenisation – cold rolling – annealing treatment schedule, before the alloys were machined to specifications for tensile test, fracture toughness, and hardness measurement. Optical, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis were utilised for microstructural and phase characterisation of the alloys. A distinct difference in grain morphology was observed in the alloys produced – the unmodified alloy had predominantly needle-like lath martensite structure with sharp grain edges while significantly larger transverse grain size and curve edged/near elliptical grain shape was observed for the modified Cu–Zn–Al alloys. Cu–Zn with fcc structure was the predominant phase identified in the alloys while Cu–Al with bcc structure was the secondary phase observed. The hardness of the unmodified Cu–Zn–Al alloy was higher than that of the modified alloys with reductions in hardness ranging between 32.4 and 51.5%. However, the tensile strength was significantly lower than that of the modified alloy grades (28.37–52.74% increase in tensile strength was achieved with the addition of micro-alloying elements). Similarly, the percent elongation and fracture toughness (10–23% increase) of the modified alloy was higher than that of the unmodified alloy grade. The modified alloy compositions mostly exhibited fracture features indicative of a fibrous micro-mechanism to crack initiation and propagation, characterised by the prevalence of dimpled rupture.

Keywords
Cu–Zn–Al alloy, Shape memory effect, Lath martensite, Micro-alloying, Mechanical behaviour, Phase analysis
J Mater Res Technol 2017;6:136-46 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2016.10.003