Ohio State University researchers are finding new insights into how microscopic corrosion attacks an aluminum alloy commonly used in aircraft.
They’ve developed a statistical model of the deterioration and simulated it on computer, using what may seem like an unlikely analogy: a cracking brick wall. What they’ve found could one day help scientists better understand this kind of corrosion, and also explain corrosion in other types of alloys. Although the alloy, called 2024-T3, is strong and resistant to corrosion in general, it is vulnerable to intergranular corrosion -- when tiny pits on the surface grow into crack-like fissures that snake down into a part, weakening the structure, explained Gerald Frankel, professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State.
Frankel had long experimented with 2024-T3 in the lab, and he suspected that a good way to model this corrosion on computer might be to use the analogy of a brick wall -- with the fissures between the grains simulated as cracks spreading through the mortar between bricks. But modeling the complex microstructure of an aluminum alloy is very difficult. He approached Doug Wolfe, professor and chair of statistics at Ohio State, and together with their students, they developed a statistical model that depends on the probabilities of a fissure turning various different ways within the alloy.
Gerald Frankel | EurekAlert!
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