Material plastic properties characterization using a genetic algorithm andfinite element method modelling of the plane strain small punch test
, Jim Boyle, Mohd. Ramlan, Craig Dun, Mohd. Ismail, Kenji Hakoda
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, U.K.*: email: email@example.com
In this paper, a novel plane strain small punch test (SPT) method is proposed for material plastic properties characterization. The plane strain SPT is different from the standard SPT in the two ways: (a) a long thinrectangular specimen (with dimensions of about 20mm×8mm×0.5mm) is used, and (b) the resulting test toolcomponents - such as punch head and upper and lower die - are also different. The punch head is a prism with ahalf-circular shape and the upper and lower die consists of left and right long blocks, with a chamfer at each of theinner top corners of the lower die. The tool components have been designed and assembled and the plane strainsmall punch tests have been performed to obtain the punch force and the corresponding central displacements of thespecimen. This information is then used to characterize the material’s plastic parameters.
Plane strain small punch test, Material properties characterization, Genetic algorithm, Finite elementmethod.
Material property characterization is very important for structural design, since an optimally designed structurewith full use of available material strength can lead tocosts being reduced dramatically. It is even moreimportant for ageing power plants with their design life-time almost exhausted if service is expected to beextended. The proper extension of service of such power plants can be not only cost effective but alsoenvironmentally friendly; however the material willhave deteriorated and this must be taken into accountthrough improved material characterization. There aremany testing methods for material propertycharacterization, although the standard simple tensiletest remains the most common. But the tensile test is ata disadvantage for in-service components since acylindrical specimen with a length of around 60mm anda diameter of 10mm is required to be removed from thecomponent, and subsequent repair, such as welding, hasto be performed, increasing uncertainty about thestructural integrity. The Small Punch Test (SPT)  wasdeveloped nearly thirty years ago to overcome thisdifficulty: the dimensions of a typical disc-like SPTsample are a diameter of 6 to 8 mm and a thickness of 0.5mm, therefore much less material is required to beremoved. Indeed it is virtually a non-destructivematerial testing method for a tiny amount of materialcan be ‘scraped’ directly from the surface of in-servicecomponents.Initially, the SPT technique was proposed by Manahanetc. at MIT for investigation of the behaviour of materials used in nuclear power plant under radiationand high temperature environments in 1981. In thefollowing ten years, the SPT technique has mainly beenused to determine properties related to material fracture. Subsequently, it was extended to thecharacterisation of creep material properties [3-9]. Apartfrom the mostly ad hoc methods to obtain final material properties from a SPT, the Artificial Neural Network approach has also been used to determine the materialductile parameters and the fracture parameters [10-11].Although the standard SPT test has been successfullyused to characterize virgin and in-service material properties, it remains difficult to deal with welded in-service components since material properties varyspatially from the parent material to the heat affectedzone and to the welding material. One way to deal withthis is to cut samples at different zones  - this isobviously not a non-destructive method for at least 10mm depth cut is required to get an 8mm diameter specimen. Moreover, if only the surface disc-likesample is used, it remains a non-destructive samplingmethod, but the resulting stress field will be very muchmore complex under the SPT test because the material properties vary from the base to the heat affected zonethen to the weld material. To overcome thesedifficulties, a novel plane strain small punch test was proposed with a long thin rectangular sample. Thisnew type of SPT test is different from the standard SPTin the two ways: (a) a long thin rectangular specimen(with dimensions of about 20mm*8mm*0.5mm) isused, and (b) the resulting test tool components - suchas punch head and upper and lower die - are alsodifferent. The punch head is a prism with a half-circular shape and the upper and lower die consisting of left andright long blocks, with a chamfer at each of the inner top corners of the lower die. By proper assemblage of the tool components and clamping of the specimen, a plane strain SPT can be performed.As an initial attempt to investigate this new SPT test, avirgin stainless steel was tested with the specimencentral point displacement and the punch force beingrecorded for the further material characterization. Afinite element model was built for the plane strain SPTand the material of the tested specimen was assumed toobey a Ramberg-Osgood hardening rule with twomaterial parameters. ABAQUS FEM codes were usedfor the numerical simulation. With varying values of thematerial parameters, the specimen central point