Characterization of strain amplitude-dependent behavior of hardness and indentation size effect of SS400 structural steel
In this paper, the continuous stiffness measurement (CSM) indentation is employed to investigate fatigue mechanical properties of structural steel under cyclic loading. For this purpose, several representative analytical approaches were introduced to estimate the basic mechanical properties including Young’s modulus and indentation hardness from the characteristics of the loading/unloading curves. Several experiments including CSM nanoindentation, low-cycle fatigue experiment for four strain amplitude levels, optical microscope (OM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) examinations were conducted to observe the variation characteristics of mechanical properties at the microscale and their micro-mechanisms. The microstructural evolution of the specimens deformed by the low-cycle fatigue was observed using the OM and TEM examinations. The standard nanoindentation experiments were then performed at different strain rate levels to characterize the influences of strain rate indentation on hardness of the material. The micro-mechanisms established based on the microstructural evolution and strain gradient plasticity theory were introduced to be responsible for the variation of indentation hardness under cyclic loading. Finally, the indentation size effect (ISE) phenomenon in SS400 structural steel was investigated and explained through the strain gradient plasticity theory regarding geometrically necessary dislocations underneath the indenter tip. The experimental results can be used for practical designs as well as for understanding the fatigue behavior of SS400 structural steel.
cyclic loading; fatigue; nanoindentation; indentation size effect; strain rate sensitivity; structural steel.
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