Purdue University Graduate School
AndreaNicolas_ThesisDissertation_FINAL-corrected_toSubmit.pdf (3.64 MB)
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posted on 2019-08-15, 14:41 authored by Andrea NicolasAndrea Nicolas
The service life of aircraft structure, primarily composed of aluminum alloys, is markedly lower when galvanic corrosion is present due to early crack initiation at localized pitting, with the likelihood of cracking being higher at pits spanning several microns. To understand the joint effect that the mechanical and chemical behavior of AA7050-T7451 have on the evolution of corrosion prior and until its transition to cracking, the microstructure, constituent particles, mechanical strains, and the corrosion morphology were experimentally characterized using high-resolution methods and the mechanical stresses are computationally modeled at the micrometer level using a FFT-based crystal plasticity framework.

The material was corroded under both mechanically loaded and unloaded conditions under different corrosion intervals to properly capture the evolution of corrosion before, during, and after particle fallout. For the events prior to cracking, statistical cross-correlations between the mechanical state of the material and the corrosion morphology were performed to understand the mechanisms driving corrosion at its various stages. For the cracking event and its subsequent growth, the joint analysis of strains and stresses obtained from 3D crystal plasticity models were used to calculate Fatigue Indicator Parameters (FIPs) that can quantitatively give an insight of the major mechanisms driving crack initiation and growth in pre-corroded materials. The development of micromechanical models that account for both the environmental degradation and the microstructure in the material allowed to accurately predict the location of crack initiation arising from pits, which has been a longstanding problem in the field of corrosion. It is concluded that both corrosion growth and its transition to cracking are multivariable events, where corrosion growth is jointly driven by the local chemistry and the micromechanics, and crack initiation is driven by the coupled interaction between the corrosion geometry and the micromechanics.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Michael D Sangid

Additional Committee Member 2

Weinong W Chen

Additional Committee Member 3

Pablo Zavattieri

Additional Committee Member 4

James T Burns