The fatigue crack growth behavior in Regions 11 and III of crack growth was investigated for hypoeutectic and eutectic Al-Si-Mg cast alloys. To isolate and establish the mechanistic contributions of characteristic microstructural features (dendritic α-Al matrix, eutectic phases, Mg-Si strengthening precipitates), alloys with various Si content/morphology, grain size level, and matrix strength were studied; the effect of secondary dendrite arm spacing (SDAS) was also assessed. In Regions 11 and III of crack growth, the observed changes in the fracture surface appearance were associated with changes in crack growth mechanisms at the microstructural scale (from a linear advance predominantly through primary α-Al to a tortuous advance exclusively through AI-Si eutectic Regions). The extent of the plastic zone ahead of the crack tip was successfully used to explain the changes in growth mechanisms. The fatigue crack growth tests were conducted on compact tension specimens under constant stress ratio, R = 0.1, in ambient conditions.
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