Exploring novel deformation mechanisms in aluminum–copper alloys using in situ 4D nanomechanical testing

C. Shashank Kaira, Tyler J. Stannard, Vincent De Andrade, Francesco De Carlo, Nikhilesh Chawla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Even after nearly a century of extensive use of aluminum alloys in structural applications, our understanding of such precipitation-strengthened materials is far from complete. With the advent of next generation advanced characterization techniques, our ability to probe materials in unique ways and at different length scales has established a new paradigm for devising new pathways to alloy design by engineering materials and tailoring specific properties at the nanoscale. Here, we perform in situ nanomechanical testing in conjunction with synchrotron-based hard X-ray nanotomography to capture initiation and evolution of damage in 3D in Al–Cu alloys. Precipitates in these alloys are seen to exhibit unprecedented localized deformation in compression, which is attributed to novel observations of kinking in these brittle second-phase particles, accompanied with the generation of a fine polycrystalline texture in the adjacent matrix. We observe a size-dependent transition in precipitate deformation behavior that has been thoroughly investigated using a comprehensive correlative approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Aluminum alloys
  • In situ mechanical testing
  • Precipitates
  • Synchrotron tomography
  • Transmission x-ray microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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