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Mechanical Properties

Amy Lautenbach, Katie Burzynski, Brian Hower, Austin Schader, Thomas Agasid Dept. of Materials Engineering, California Polytechnic SLO, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 Abstract: This experiment used Rockwell hardness tests and Instron tensile tests with ASTM standards to better compare mechanical properties of steel, brass, and aluminum samples. Also, including the collective data from the twelve aluminum pieces, twelve brass, and twelve steel (one of each given to each group of twelve). The trends observed from the samples within group 11 were that Youngs Modulus depends on the amount of available slip planes which allow the material to more easily elastically deform. Strength, on the other hand, varied depending on the materials electron configuration. Brasss valence electrons are held more loosely, and can deform more elastically without fracture than aluminum and thus have a higher tensile strength. The trends observed through all of the data in all twelve groups were that hardness and tensile strength had a linear correlation. This can be explained because hardness is the measurement of resistance to the plastic deformation used during a tensile test. Introduction: The purpose of this experiment was to compare the properties among different materials in order to investigate the connection between mechanical properties and the structure of materials. The samples provided for investigation were: aluminum, steel, and brass. These materials were put through hardness tests and tensile tests using the specified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. The hardness test will help to determine whether the steel sample is a 1010 alloy, with hardness readings in the 90s, or 4130, readings in the 100s. Performing tensile tests on the materials will generate data to create a stress-strain curve. All of the data including data collected by other groups with comparable samples will be used to analyze and compare elastic moduli, strengths, ductility, and hardness. Experimental Procedure: Hardness Tests: The samples were hardness tested using the Rockwell hardness tester available at Cal Poly using a scale of Rockwell F. ASTM standards require that this test be conducted at ambient temperature within the limits of 50 to 95 Fahrenheit. The test piece is to be supported rigidly. The Rockwell hardness test method then measures the permanent depth of an indentation left by an indenter which first uses a minor load to find a reference position. Next, a major load is used to reach the total required test force. During testing the apparatus must be protected from vibrations. After this major load is released and the final position of the indenter is measured and converted to a Rockwell hardness number. This was repeated five times, with the center of each indentation to an edge of the test piece at least two and a half times the diameter of the indentation apart, on each sample to ensure there was no

error in measurement. The resulting average hardness numbers were entered into an excel spreadsheet where they were compared to results from other teams. The hardness values were also compared to the Elastic Moduli and to strength to observe correlations between these values. Tensile Tests: The samples were tensile tested individually using the Instron tensile tester using the ASTM standard for tensile testing. The standard requires that the cross-sectional area of the test specimen be determined as well as the dimensions of the cross section at the center of the reduced section. The samples were then placed into the Instron tester and force was applied in axial tension until the samples underwent fracture. The Instron Tensile Tester then generated a Stress vs. Strain curve of each material measuring the change in length versus force applied. Each strain curve was then plotted in reference to one and other on the same graph. Trends were then noted between stiffness and hardness along with yield strength and maximum strength in addition to ductility. Periodic trends were then used to further analyze and organize the results. Results and Discussion: I. Comparison of 3 Material Samples

hardness values taken from the sample were similar to data of other groups who performed tests on 1010 steel. From this, the sample steel was determined to be 1010 steel. Table 1 Tensile Test Readings Metal E y Al 44.24 136.26 Cu+Zn 89.79 321.58 Fe+C 112.84 270.35

148.73 398.95 376.09

% el
11.02 31.86 26.05

Among the three samples tested, aluminum had the lowest Youngs modulus, yield and ultimate tensile strengths, while also being the least ductile as shown in Table 1. The crystal structures for each of the metals have a direct influence on the mechanical properties of the samples. The initial prediction that the aluminum sample would be the least stiff was correct. Due to aluminums face-centered cubic (FCC) crystal structure, which has 12 slip planes, this allows for more dislocations to slide on the available slip planes. With an increased number of slip planes, aluminum is more easily elastically deformed, thus has a low Youngs modulus. In comparison, the brass and the steel samples are alloys. NOTE: Find out the crystal structures of steel and brass to mention here. In a generalization, alloys have additional strain on their lattice due to the impurities, zinc in copper for brass, and carbon in iron for steel. These impurities make it difficult for dislocations to move through the lattices. This additional strain results in a higher Youngs modulus for brass and steel in comparison to aluminum. The initial prediction that the aluminum would have the least strength was correct. However, the initial prediction that steel would have a higher yield and ultimate tensile strength than

Using the data that was calculated from the tensile test and referencing Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES), the unknown steel was able to be determined. By comparing the yield strength values of the 1010 steel and 4130 steel in CES to that of the steel from the tensile test, the yield strength value of the sample was within the range of the 1010 steel and outside of the range of the 4130 steel. In addition, the

brass was incorrect. The results in Table 1 show that brass has a yield strength and ultimate tensile strength greater than the 1010 steel. As mentioned above, the crystal structures of the samples have a direct influence on the mechanical properties of the samples. For similar reasons that the crystal structure affects the Youngs modulus, the crystal structure also influences a materials yield and ultimate tensile strengths. The yield strength of a material is defined as the point at which a predetermined amount of permanent deformation occurs. At this particular point the material transitions from elastic to plastic deformation. As discussed earlier, aluminums crystal structure causes the material to have a low elastic modulus. Due to aluminums low elastic modulus, in comparison to brass and steel, the sample did not require as much stress to be applied to it in order to reach its yield strength. That is why the yield strength of aluminum is lower than the brass and steel samples. Furthermore, the ultimate tensile strength is also influenced by a materials crystal structure. The ultimate tensile strength is defined as the point at which a material can be stretched before necking occurs and is the greatest amount of axial stress a material can withstand. The results in Table 1 show aluminum with the lowest ultimate tensile strength, while brass and steel both had higher ultimate tensile strengths. The results make sense that aluminum has the lowest ultimate tensile strength of the tested samples after having the lowest Youngs modulus, and the lowest yield strength. The reason the brass and steel samples have significantly greater ultimate tensile strengths is due to the fact that they are both alloys. The different sized atoms in the

crystal structures of brass and steel impede the movement of dislocations. By impeding the movement of the dislocations, a greater amount of stress is required for the dislocations to move, thus resulting in a higher ultimate tensile strength. Aluminum was found to be the least ductile material. Brass and steel are both more ductile than aluminum. Aluminum rests in the group 3B column in row 3. Brass is composed of copper and zinc which are both in row 4 which resides lower down on the periodic table. Copper and zinc have more electrons and protons than aluminum. Because copper and zinc have so many more electrons near the core, their outer valence electrons are located farther from their nucleus than the valence electrons in aluminum. The attraction between protons and electrons decreases as the distance between them increases. This causes the valence electrons of copper or zinc to be held looser than the valence electrons of aluminum. The shielding effect becomes more prevalent due to the extra D orbital electrons in the copper and zinc, which weakens the bond strength between the atoms in steel or brass compared to aluminum. The electrons are held less tightly by their nuclei. This allows the atoms in steel and brass to move past each other easier than atoms in the aluminum crystal structure. Aluminum has a FCC crystal structure which because of the multiple slip planes is usually a more ductile structure. However, due to how high up on the periodic table and how few free electrons are present the bond strength between aluminum atoms is higher. The intermolecular forces between aluminum atoms are stronger than those in Steel and Brass. The higher the forces attracting the aluminum atoms to one another, the harder it is to pull the atoms apart. Steel has weaker bonds

H avg (HRF)

between its motifs due to the shielding effect on the Fe atoms. Because of the weaker intermolecular forces between Steel molecules, the Steels slip planes easily slide past one another, causing steel to be more ductile than aluminum. The Rockwell Hardness Readings are an measurement of the materials hardness or resistance to plastic deformation. Again, the solid solution materials, brass and steel are harder than aluminum, as seen in Table 2.

Scatterplot of H avg (HRF) vs UTS (MPa)

Metal Al Brass S-1010 S-4130





20 100 200 300 400 UTS (MPa) 500 600

Table 2 Rockwell Hardness Readings: F-scale Sample 1 2 3 4 5 Aluminum 16.3 21.7 25.2 25.4 21.0 Brass 93.7 94.3 94.4 94.5 94.4 Steel 96.2 96.2 95.9 95.7 95.8

Figure I The collective data amongst the class of the relation between hardness values and ultimate tensile strength. In Figure II, the hardness vs elastic modulus data shows a slight linear like trend, and during a CES plot of the data there also appears to be a linear like trend, however, the two properties are not mathematically linked in any way. Hardness does not depend on stiffness and the test for hardness is independent of stiffness.


Comparison of Class Data

Our statistical analysis of Hardness vs. tensile strength showed an approximate linear proportionality between the two characteristic. When fitted with a best fit line our R^2 value was 92.1% meaning 92.1% of the data could be explained by this linear trend, seen in Figure I. This relationship can be explained because hardness is a measurement resistance to plastic deformation and during a test a material is stressed until plastic deformation occurs. Similarly yield strength is also related to hardness as can easily be shown using the Cambridge Engineering Selector software to plot hardness vs tensile strength.

Scatterplot of HRF vs E (GPa)

110 100 90 80
Metal Al Brass S-1010 S-4130


70 60 50 40 30 20 0 20 40 60 80 100 E (GPa) 120 140 160 180

Figure II The collective data of the relation between hardness and elastic modulus.

Elastic modulus and yield strength are also not mathematically linked although our data also appears to show a trend, as seen in Figure III. As demonstrated by materials such as elastomers elastic modulus has little to do with yield strength. When plotted in CES the two properties appear to have some sort of linear correlation especially for metals, however, there is little evidence to mathematically link the two as being dependent on one and other.
Scatterplot of E (GPa)_1 vs Yield Stress
Metal Al Brass S-1010 S-4130

Scatterplot of Yield Stress vs %elong

400 350 300
Metal Al Brass S-1010 S-4130

Yield Stress

250 200 150 100 10 15 20 %elong 25 30 35


Figure IV The collective data of the relation between yield strength and ductility.

E (GPa)_1




50 100 150 200 250 Yield Stress 300 350 400

Figure III The collective data of the relation between elastic modulus and yield strength. When analyzing yield strength vs ductility our data showed no correlation between the two properties. When using CES to plot the two properties, Figure IV displays random scattering of points. Yield strength has no correlation to ductility. This can be demonstrated by comparing the graphs of yield strength vs elastic modulus of metals and of elastomers; the lack of consistency across materials clearly displays the lack of relationship.