Increasing the resistance of a material against fatigue crack growth by optimizing the microstructure is one of the major tasks of modern materials science. Thereby grain and phase boundaries are microstructural elements which can decelerate the propagation rate especially of short cracks. However, in different materials cracks and grain boundaries interact differently. For instance in some steels the blocking effect was only found for large angle grain boundaries while small angle boundaries showed nearly no effect. On the other hand in nickel based superalloys a retardation of cracks was found even for small angle boundaries when the crack was propagating in stage I. Even in front of the same grain boundary, the blocking effect varies for different cracks. To investigate this behaviour systematically focused ion beam (FIB) initiated cracks were used. By this method of artificial crack initiation the crack parameters like crack length and distance to the obstacle can be varied separately. Additionally special grain boundaries can be selected after a microstructural characterisation by electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). Finally FIB tomography helps to understand the process how a crack overcomes a grain boundary. © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Marx, M., Schaef, W., & Vehoff, H. (2010). Interaction of short cracks with the local microstructure. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 2, pp. 163–171). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2010.03.018