Mechanical properties of Al–Li alloys Part 1 fracture toughness and microstructure

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-895
Journal / PublicationMaterials Science and Technology (United Kingdom)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1989
Externally publishedYes


Mechanisms influencing the ambient temperature mechanical properties of commercial Al–Li alloys 2090, 8090, 8091, and 2091 are examined as a function of plate orientation, with specific emphasis on the role of microstructure. In Part 1, results on the uniaxial tensile and plane strain fracture toughness properties are presented and the behaviour is discussed in terms of the role of the matrix and grain boundary precipitates, associated precipitate free zones (PFZs), and the occurrence of short-transverse delamination. It is seen that in general peak aged microstructures show an excellent combination of strength and toughness (L–T, T–L), equal to or exceeding that shown by traditional 2000 and 7000 series high strength aluminium alloys. The superior toughness of peak aged compared with naturally aged microstructures seems to be associated with widespread matrix precipitation of platelike precipitates (T1 in Al–Li–Cu alloys and S in Al–Li–Cu–Mg alloys), β′-dispersoids and second phase particles which promote ductile (void coalescence) fracture, and with secondary cracking (through thickness delamination) caused by poor short transverse properties. By contrast, the deterioration in fracture toughness with overaging is primarily attributed to extensive grain boundary precipitation and corresponding formation of PFZs, similar to traditional aluminium alloys. All alloys show highly textured, predominantly unrecrystallised grain structures that render the properties to be strongly orientation dependent; specifically, fracture toughness values for the short-transverse orientations (S–L, S–T) are typically 50% lower than in the longitudinal and transverse orientations.