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High strain-rate compression testing of a short-fiber reinforced aluminum composite
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Compression behavior of 15–26 Vf% Saffil™ short-fiber reinforced Al-1.17wt.%Cu alloy metal matrix composites has been determined over a strain-rate range of approximately 10−4 to 2×103 s−1. The strain-rate sensitivity of composite samples at 4% strain, tested parallel and normal to the plane of reinforcement, was found to be higher than that of unreinforced alloy in the strain-rate range studied. Quantitative analysis of fiber fragment lengths from samples tested to different strain levels showed that, at small strains, high strain-rate testing induced a relatively shorter fiber fragment length distribution in the composite compared to quasi-static testing. At quasi-static strain rates, the fiber strengthening effect was found to increase with increasing Vf% and was higher in samples tested parallel to the planar random array. The observed anisotropy of the composite at quasi-static strain rates was also observed to continue into the high strain-rate regime. Microscopic observations on composite samples tested quasi-statically and dynamically to a range of strains showed that the major damage process involved during compression testing was fiber breakage followed by the microcracking of the matrix at relatively large strains. Fiber breakage modes were found to be mostly shearing and buckling.