The motivation to use lightweight materials in the construction of the automotive structure is the resultant increased fuel efficiency. However, these materials possess certain drawbacks that make it challenging to adopt them into current automobile manufacturing processes. In this dissertation the microstructural response observed in a magnesium alloy, AZ31, and an advanced high strength steel alloy, QP1180, to uniaxial deformation is analyzed and the results are presented. In AZ31 the required slip modes are not activated at room temperature leading to its low ductility at room temperature. The resulting activity of these twins in response to uniaxial tension is analyzed and its correlations with the microstructure features is reported. Additionally, a neighborhood viscoplastic self-consistent model is developed that will allow more accurate simulation of twin response to outside deformation. Furthermore, activity of slip modes that are usually observed at high temperatures (>200°C) are also observed at lower temperatures (<125°C) and they are compared to the relative twin activity at these temperatures. It is observed that larger grains, with high schmid factors, longer grain boundaries and have misorientation with its neighboring grain greater than 27° are more favorable for twin formation and transmission in the AZ31 microstructure in response to uniaxial tension. The nature of retained austenite (RA) transformation into martensite that gives QP1180 its enhanced ductility, is not clearly understood primarily because of challenges present in characterization of these metastable RA. Further, a 2 dimensional characterization method does not provide the complete information of the RA grain. These challenges are overcome by characterization of a 3 dimensional volume element using serial sectioning and EBSD followed by reconstruction using DREAM3D. The influence of 3d morphology and orientation direction on RA transformation is studied using as-is and uniaxially deformed samples. A novel shear affinity factor is introduced as a metric to describe the ease of RA transformation under uniaxial tension. The 3d nature of the information collected allows a new classification of disk shape in addition to globular and lamellar shapes for RA. It is found that RA that are low volume laths and have low shear affinity factor transform later compared to disk shaped RA’s. Through these guidelines the preparation of a microstructure that is conducive to RA transformation under uniaxial tension is possible.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





magnesium, QP1180, EBSD, retained austenite, DIC, VPSC, twinning, AZ31