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Structure and properties of a monocrystalline Cu-Al-Ni alloy submitted to thermal cycling under load, pp. 113-143 $0.00
Authors:  L.A. Matlakhova, E.C. Pereira, A.N. Matlakhov and S.N. Monteiro
Monocrystalline Cu-Al-Ni alloys are promising alternatives to be used in shape
memory effect (SME) actuators, in which the material suffers under temperature and
applied load a combined action of many factors including thermal cycling as well as
elastic and plastic deformations that modifies the initial structure and characteristic
properties. In this chapter, a monocrystalline Cu-13.5wt.%Al-4wt.%Ni (Cu-13.5Al-4Ni)
alloy displaying SME was submitted to thermal cycling treatments, load-free and under
load, within the critical range of temperatures associated with reversible martensitic
transformations (RMT). The investigation was conducted in terms of number of cycles,
magnitude of applied load, resulting structure changes, characteristics of the RMT and
mechanical behavior. The alloy was produced by the ―Memory Crystal Group‖ in Russia
and its characterization was carried out using optical and electron microscopy, X-rays
diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry and mechanical tests. A special device was
developed to perform the hundreds of thermal cycling treatments under load. It was found
that the thermal cycling treatment promotes changes in the amount of phases - a martensite
1, a high temperature stable 1 and an intermediate R phase - associated with the RMT.
These changes depend on the way the treatment ends, either by heating or by cooling.
Load-free thermal cycling contributes to enlarge the temperature interval of RMT
occurrence, but does not change the interval of hysteresis. After 300 cycles, if the end
occurs by cooling below Mf, an intermediate R phase, related to the 1 1, is obtained.
The alloy submitted to thermal cycling under load reveals a tendency towards a decrease
in the critical intervals for both direct and reverse martensite transformation. This
tendency is accentuated for 300 cycles, when the critical intervals smaller than 10 oC, are
recorded. The applied load promotes the reverse transformation at lower temperatures as
well as the direct martensitic transformation at higher temperatures, reorienting the
structure and stabilizing the R phase, coherent with 1 and 1. The alloy‘s mechanical
behavior is characterized by a complex process involving both its RMT and phase
reorientation. The results of compressive tests of the initial state revealed a ―pseudoyielding‖
plateau followed by elastic deformation up to 1350 MPa and subsequent
fracture, disclosing its brittleness. Thermal cycling under load reduces the pseudo-yield
stress by 20-25 MPa and decreases the ultimate stress to 950 MPa. The alloy shows good
resistance to irreversible changes during all thermal cycling tests. These results have a
particular relevance for the practical application of the monocrystalline Cu-13.5Al-4Ni
alloy as SME actuator. 

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Structure and properties of a monocrystalline Cu-Al-Ni alloy submitted to thermal cycling under load, pp. 113-143