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Structural fatigue of superelastic NiTi wires

Abstract : This Ph.D. dissertation thesis addresses the conditions and mechanisms that lead superelastic NiTi wires to fail under cyclic mechanical loads. NiTi shape memory alloys exhibit functional thermomechanical properties (superelasticity, shape memory effect, thermal actuation) due to martensitic phase transformations caused by a change of the applied stress and temperature. These phase transformations are though as fully reversible damage-free processes, however, when NiTi is subjected to repetitive stress-induced phase transformations its fatigue performance drops drastically in comparison to non-transforming NiTi. Most of fatigue S-N curves reporting this drop were measured on straight NiTi wires in which martensitic transformations proceed heterogeneously through nucleation and propagation of shear bands. Moreover, from our experience fatigue testing straight wire samples results in undesired failure inside the testing machine clamps. Hence, the reported stress-strain values in S-N curves are not necessarily representative of the critical mechanical conditions that lead the material to failure. With the aim of better characterize the fatigue performance of NiTi wires, we started by carrying out a series of pull-pull fatigue tests using hourglass-shaped samples. This sample geometry allowed us to confine all martensitic transformation and related material fatigue processes into a well-defined gauge volume. The samples’ characterization was performed by combining several experimental and analysis techniques such as Digital Image Correlation, Infrared Thermography, Synchrotron-source X-ray diffraction, Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy and Finite Element Analysis. A special attention was paid to the High Cycle Fatigue (HCF) performance of NiTi in which the material shows elastic behavior and/or an intermediate phase transformation (so-called R-phase). The results from HCF tests allowed us to distinguish crack nucleation and crack propagation stages during the total life of our NiTi samples. In order to get a better understanding of the mechanisms that lead to crack nucleation, we applied the nonconventional Self-Heating fatigue assessment method, which has shown efficiency in the case of aluminum and steel alloys. This method correlates the temperature elevation of a sample subjected to different cyclic load amplitudes with energy dissipating mechanisms that contribute to accumulating local damage in the material. The Self-Heating method was performed using full-field thermal measurements of cyclically loaded NiTi hourglass-shaped samples.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 10, 2018 - 3:19:07 PM
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Eduardo Augusto Alarcon Tarquino. Structural fatigue of superelastic NiTi wires. Mechanics of materials [physics.class-ph]. Université de Bretagne occidentale - Brest, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BRES0019⟩. ⟨tel-01871232⟩

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