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Anisotropic failure behavior of ordered intermetallic TiAl alloys under pure mode-I loading
Whether a metallic material fractures by brittle cleavage or by ductile rupture is primarily governed by the competition between cleavage and dislocation emission at the crack tip. The linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) based criterion of Griffith, respectively the one for dislocation emission of Rice, are sufficiently reliable for determining the possible crack tip propagation mechanisms in isotropic crystalline metals. However, the applicability of these criteria is questionable when non-cubic, anisotropic solids are considered, as e.g. ordered intermetallic TiAl phases, where slip systems are limited and elastic anisotropy is pronounced. We study brittle versus ductile failure mechanisms in face-centered tetragonal TiAl and hexagonal Ti3Al using large-scale atomistic simulations and compare our findings to the predictions of LEFM-based criteria augmented by elastic anisotropy. We observe that the augmented Griffith and Rice criteria are reliable for determining the direction dependent crack tip mechanisms, if all the available dislocation slip systems are taken into account. Yet, atomistic simulations are necessary to understand crack blunting due to mixed mechanisms, or shear instabilities other than dislocation emission. The results of our systematic study can be used as basis for modifications of the Griffith/Rice criteria in order to incorporate such effects.