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Fracture mechanics and microstructure in NiTi shape memory alloys
Crack extension under static loading in pseudoplastic and pseudoelastic binary NiTi shape memory alloy (SMA) compact tension (CT) specimens was examined. Two material compositions of 50.3 at.% Ni (martensitic/pseudoplastic) and 50.7 at.% Ni (austenitic/pseudoelastic) were investigated. The SMAs were characterized using differential scanning calorimetry to identify the phase transformation temperatures and tensile testing to characterize the stress–strain behavior. A miniature CT specimen was developed, which yields reliable critical fracture mechanics parameters. At 295 K, cracks propagate at similar stress intensities of 30 ± 5 MPa √m into martensite and pseudoelastic austenite. Integrating the miniature CT specimen into a small test device which can be fitted into a scanning electron microscope shows that this is due to cracks propagating into regions of detwinned martensite in both materials. Investigating a pseudoelastic miniature CT specimen in a synchrotron beam proves that martensite forms in front of the crack in the center of the CT specimen, i.e. under plane strain conditions.