Compréhension et modélisation d’essais de ténacité avec pop-in : application à l’aluminium 6061-T6 et influence de l’irradiation neutronique

Abstract : Pop-in is a phenomenon of crack propagation instability observed during toughness tests on some materials. This phenomenon has been observed on the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, which has been identified as an essential structural element of the core of the Jules Horowitz research reactor. This thesis was initiated to understand the origin of this phenomenon on 6061-T6 aluminum and to propose a physics-based modeling, usable for the exploitation and interpretation of toughness tests, especially in the irradiated state.The different origins identified in the literature have been experimentally tested. Different aging times (4/8/12/16h) were applied to obtain different mechanical behaviors. Tensile tests with image correlation have shown that the observed pop-ins are not due to a PLC effect. Nor do they correspond to microstructural heterogeneity; they are not linked to different fracture mechanisms, because the rupture is typically ductile, whether a pop-in is involved or not. These mechanisms and the different microstructures were compared using several techniques (SEM, EBSD, EDS, Atom Probe Tomography, tomography, synchrotron laminography and nanolaminography). Pop-ins are therefore only the result of an acceleration of the ductile fracture.In fact, they are due to an interaction between two parameters: the reduced material crack growth toughness (i.e. the low tearing modulus), and the significant compliance of the test device (i.e. the low stiffness). In order to investigate this second parameter, an innovative setup has been designed to vary the machine stiffness during toughness tests. Two analytical criteria, one based on the load-opening curve, the other on the J-integral, have been established, making it possible to reliably quantify the conditions for initiation and arrest of pop-in.To take into account the central role of hardening for ductile propagation, a new stress-controlled nucleation criterion has been introduced into a single GTN model. This makes it possible to simulate and capture by finite elements the various J-Δa toughness curves by modifying only the elastoplastic law. By adding springs in the models and with an adapted control, the pop-ins are successfully simulated, and remain exploitable with the analytical criteria.Studies on irradiated specimens carried out in hot cells have shown that the increase in pop-ins with irradiation results from the decrease in the tearing modulus, itself due to hardening. As in the non-irradiated state, pop-ins thus appear solely because of the interaction between the tearing modulus and the test device stiffness, and not because of a range of industrial development not mastered.
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Tom Petit. Compréhension et modélisation d’essais de ténacité avec pop-in : application à l’aluminium 6061-T6 et influence de l’irradiation neutronique. Mécanique des matériaux [physics.class-ph]. PSL Research University, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018PSLEM019⟩. ⟨tel-02051841⟩

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