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ANALYSIS OF LASER CLAD REPAIRED TI-6AL-4V FATIGUE LIFE
thesisposted on 14.01.2021, 17:59 by Samuel John Noone
Laser cladding is a more recent approach to repair of aviation components within a damage tolerant framework, with its ability to restore not simply the geometric shape but the static and fatigue strength as well. This research analysed the fatigue performance of Ti-6Al-4V that has undergone a laser clad repair, comparing baseline specimens with laser clad repaired, and repaired and heat treated specimens. First an understanding of the microstructure was achieved by use of BSE imagery of the substrate, clad repaired region and post heat treated regions. The substrate of the material was identified with large grains which compared to a repaired clad region with a much finer grain structure that did not change with heat treatment. Next, performance of the specimens under tensile fatigue loading was conducted, with the clad specimens experiencing unexpectedly high fatigue performance when compared to baseline samples; the post heat treated specimen lasting significantly longer than all other specimens. It is theorised that the clad may have contributed to an increase in fatigue resilience due to its fine microstructure, when compared to the softer, more coarse substrate. The heat treatment is likely to have relaxed any residual stresses in the specimens leading to a reduction in any potential undesirable stresses, without impacting the microstructure. Residual stress analysis using EDD was unproductive due to the unexpected coarse microstructure and did not provide meaningful results. Fractography using the marker-band technique was explored with some success, proving a feesable method for measuring fatigue crack growth through a specimen post failure. Unfortunately fatigue crack growth throughout the entire fatigue life was not possible due to the tortuous fracture surface and potentially due to the fine micro-structure of the clad, resulting in interrupted marker-band formation. Future research shall expand on this work with a greater focus on residual stress analysis and its impact on fatigue.