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Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113
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Evaluating the eect of yttrium as a solute strengthener


in magnesium using in situ neutron diraction
N. Stanford a, R. Cottam b,, B. Davis c, J. Robson d
a
Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3217, Australia
IRIS, Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
c
Magnesium Elektron Ltd., Rake Lane, Swinton, Manchester M270D, UK
d
School of Materials, Materials Science Centre, The University of Manchester, Grosvenor Street, Manchester M17HS, UK

Received 31 March 2014; received in revised form 10 June 2014; accepted 11 June 2014
Available online 10 July 2014

Abstract
In situ neutron diraction of two binary Mg alloys, Mg0.5 wt.% Y and Mg2.2 wt.% Y have been carried out in compression. The
experimental data has been modelled using the elastoplastic self-consistent methodology in order to determine the critical resolved shear
stress for basal slip, second-order hc + ai pyramidal slip and f1 0 
1 2g twinning. It was found that the addition of Y strengthens all three
of the deformation modes examined. However, increasing the Y concentration from 0.5% to 2.2% showed no additional hardening in the
basal slip and f1 0 1 2g twinning modes, indicating that solute strengthening of these deformation modes is already exhausted by a concentration of 0.5% Y. Second-order pyramidal slip showed additional solute hardening at the higher concentration.
Crown Copyright 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. on behalf of Acta Materialia Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Magnesium; Deformation; Twinning; Solute strengthening

1. Introduction
Magnesium and its alloys exhibit a strong anisotropy in
mechanical behaviour. This is evident both in the singlecrystal case [13] and in wrought products that have developed a strong crystallographic texture [4]. The essence of
the problem is the much higher critical resolved shear stress
(CRSS) of the non-basal slip systems compared to basal
slip and f1 0 
1 2g twinning [1]. This eect is exacerbated
by the polarity of twinning, which can lead to severe yield
strength anisotropy in wrought products. A potential avenue for alleviating this problem is the addition of solute elements which can change the ratio of the CRSS for the
dierent slip and twin systems [2,3,57]. It has also been
found in single-crystal studies that certain alloying
Corresponding author.

E-mail address: rcottam@swin.edu.au (R. Cottam).

elements can actually soften the non-basal slip systems,


rather than hardening them [3], although the applicability
of this nding to the polycrystal case has recently come into
question [8]. While the controversy of solute softening continues to be debated in the literature, it remains evident
that the addition of solute elements provides us with the
potential to harden the softer modes whilst at the same
time softening the hard modes, all by the addition of solute
elements to the alloy. Despite this great technological
potential, there is very little information in the literature
pertaining to the quantication of solute hardening of the
dierent deformation modes.
Of most interest for developing Mg alloys is the rareearth group of elements. These elements are known to
improve creep resistance at higher temperatures, and are
also known to be potent texture modiers [914]. A small
addition of a rare-earth element such as Ce or Y can
profoundly weaken the recrystallization texture, and this

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actamat.2014.06.023
1359-6454/Crown Copyright 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. on behalf of Acta Materialia Inc. All rights reserved.

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

provides a signicant improvement in the ductility [15,16]


and anisotropy [9] for the reasons already mentioned. This
texture modication, although appealing from a mechanical property standpoint, makes examination of the individual deformation modes exceedingly dicult. Because the
texture has such a large impact on the selection of the
active deformation modes, making an accurate assessment
of these changes on materials with dierent textures is
extremely dicult. For this reason we have chosen here
to use in situ neutron diraction to examine the deformation behaviour of two alloys containing dierent concentrations of Y. The alloys have a similar grain size but
quite dierent textures as a result of the dierent Y concentrations. The aim of the in situ testing is to evaluate the
eect of Y on the CRSS of the dierent deformation modes
during room-temperature deformation.
2. Materials and experimental procedure
2.1. Materials
Two binary MgY alloys containing 0.5 and 2.2 wt.% Y
were sand cast by Magnesium Elektron Manchester, UK.

The as-cast plates were hot rolled at 350 C using multiple


passes which imparted a true strain of 0.92. Microstructures after the hot rolling resulted in the formation of a
partially recrystallized structure which was not desirable
for subsequent testing. Static recrystallization was carried
out at 350 C for 20 min for the Mg0.5 wt.% Y alloy,
and at 400 C for 15 min for the Mg2.2 wt.% Y alloy. This
resulted in the formation of a fully recrystallized grain
structure. The grain sizes of the 0.5 and 2.2 wt.% Y alloys
were 26.9 4 lm and 40.6 4 lm, respectively. Unfortunately, we were unable to produce precisely the same grain
size for both alloys in the present study. Although it is
known that larger grain sized alloys have lower ow stresses, the small dierence in grain size between the two alloys
is not expected to be large enough to mask the eect of
solid-solution strengthening due to Y addition.
The crystallographic texture of the two hot-rolled and
recrystallized materials was determined by electron backscatter diraction (EBSD) using an accelerating voltage
of 20 kV, a working distance of 10 mm and a step size of
40 lm; 10,000 points were collected (Fig. 1). The measured
textures are fairly consistent with the published literature
on similar alloy systems [10], which typically show the

Fig. 1. {0 0 0 2} Pole gures of the hot-rolled plates: (a) Mg0.5 wt.% Y; (b) Mg2.2 wt.% Y.

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

direction of the rolled plate, and these have been termed


through-thickness compression samples (TTC).
2.2. In situ neutron diraction experiments
Fig. 2. Compression sample orientation with respect to the rolled plate
showing through-thickness compression (TTC), compression inclined 45
to the rolling direction (45IC), and in-plane compression (IPC).

recrystallization texture to be fairly weak due to the Y


alloying addition. To evaluate the anisotropy of both materials, uniaxial compression samples of 5 mm diameter and
10 mm in height were cut from the rolled plate in three orientations (Fig. 2). The three dierent orientations were
chosen in order to activate dierent deformation modes
during compression. Samples cut from the rolled plate,
with the compression direction parallel to the rolling direction, were chosen to study deformation twinning. These
samples are termed in-plane compression (IPC). Samples
cut at 45 to the rolling direction were chosen to study
basal slip, and are referred to as 45IC. The third orientation chosen was compression of samples in the normal

In situ neutron diraction measurements were acquired


during uniaxial compressive loading using the ENGIN-X
beamline at the ISIS pulsed neutron source, Rutherford
Appleton Laboratory, UK. Details of the beamline are
given in Ref. [17]. Due to the signicant plateau in the initial plastic strain response when f1 0 1 2g tensile twinning is
dominant in the deformation, the use of load control during collection of the diraction data was not possible. To
avoid this problem a constant slow strain rate of 1  10
5 1
s was chosen, which is suciently slow to prevent
averaging over too large a strain during each data acquisition interval of 8 min. Due to the complications of microyielding of the softer modes and machine compliance
during loading, the determination of the macroscopic yield
point was not necessarily clear. Consequently here we
chose to report the 0.002 proof stress as the indicator of
macroscopic yielding.

Fig. 3. (a) Engineering stressstrain curves for the IPC samples. The diracted intensity from selected grain orientations is shown in (b) and (c).

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

ENGIN-X has two 90 detector banks (north, south).


The loading axis was aligned at 45 to the incident beam
such that the spectra acquired in the north and south banks
corresponded to axial and transverse sample directions.
These denitions of transverse and axial refer to the
loading direction on the sample. The axial direction is the
compression direction, and the transverse direction is
the direction in which the sample is free to expand during
the compression test. The time-of-ight spectra were analysed using the in-house Open Genie software. The diraction peaks within each spectrum were tted using a Voigt
function convolved with an exponential tail to capture
the asymmetric peak shape. During tting only peak
height, position and Voigt width were allowed to vary.
The lattice spacings, d, were determined from the peak tting and the internal elastic strains were determined using
the following equation:
e

hkl

d hkl  d hkl
o

;
d hkl
o

where do is the initial lattice spacing and d is the lattice


spacing as a result of the applied load. The do used was
taken from the initial measurement, where only a small
load was used to hold the sample in the neutron beam.
2.3. Elastoplastic self-consistent modelling
In this work we used the elastoplastic self-consistent
model (EPSC, version 4) developed by Turner and Tome

[18] to simulate the elastoplastic response of alloys [19


23]. The input les for the simulations were a set of 2000
orientations selected from the EBSD texture data. The four
deformation modes included in the simulation were basal
slip, prismatic slip, pyramidal hc + ai slip and f1 0 
1 2g
twinning. The f1 0 1 1g twin was not included in the simulation because its contribution to strain is minimal, and
previous studies have found its inclusion not to be required
(e.g. [20]). Only the rst 1% of elastoplastic strain was simulated, with the exception of the TTC samples for which
2% strain was simulated to account for the higher yield
stress in that case.
3. Neutron diraction results
3.1. In-plane compression (IPC)
Although the texture of these samples is much weaker
than would be expected from a conventional alloy such
as AZ31, there still exists a preference for alignment of
the c-axis in the normal to the rolling plane (Fig. 1). As a
consequence of this texture, the IPC samples are well
aligned for the activation of f1 0 1 2g tensile twins. This is
reected by the sigmoidal hardening behaviour observed
for the two alloys (Fig. 3a). The concave-up appearance
of the ow curve results from the orientation change
associated with twinning, where the twinned material is
reoriented into a hard orientation. Those grains undergoing twinning, the parent grains, have a c-axis aligned in
the transverse direction. As the volume fraction of twins

Fig. 4. Internal elastic lattice strain response for IPC tests for the 0.5 and 2.2 wt.% Y alloys. (a) Parent grains, where the {0 0 0 2} peak comes from the axial
detector and the f1 0 
1 0g from the transverse bank. (b) Daughter (twinned) grains where the f1 0 1 0g peak comes from the axial detector and the {0 0 0 2}
from the transverse bank.

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

increases, the volume fraction of these grains decreases,


and this is commensurate with a drop in the measured
intensity of those grains (Fig. 3b and c). This is concurrent
with an increase in the volume fraction of grains with the
twinned orientation, and these grains have their c-axis
aligned with the compression direction after the twinning
event.
It can be seen from Fig. 3 that the applied stress associated with the onset of twinning is similar for both alloys,
and correlates closely with macroscopic yielding. The alloy
with the higher Y content actually shows a slightly lower
yield point than the less concentrated alloy, and this is
likely to be the result of better alignment of grains for basal
slip in the case of the more weakly textured material.
The internal elastic strain response of both alloys has
been separated into parent (original grains) and daughter
grains (twinned regions) and the lattice strains for both
alloys have been plotted together (Fig. 4). The grains that
are well oriented for f1 0 
1 2g twinning are those for which
compression promotes extension of the c-axis. These are

the grains with a c-axis in the transverse direction, and this


same group have f1 0 1 0g in the compression (axial) direction. It can be seen in Fig. 4 that both alloys show similar
behaviour in the parent grains, with the prismatic planes
becoming more compressed with increasing strain, and
the basal planes being more tensile as the stress increases.
The dotted lines represent the elastic response of the material, which is closely predicted by the Youngs modulus in
the axial direction. Due to Poissons ratio, the elastic strain
in the transverse direction is predicted to be only 1/3 of
the strain measured in the axial direction for the same
applied stress. The basal and prismatic planes follow these
elastic predictions well for both alloys. However, a third
group of orientations are shown in Fig. 4 which do not follow this trend. The f1 0 1 2g set of grains, which are oriented with the basal plane inclined 43 to the
compression direction, are well oriented for basal slip. It
can be seen that for this group of grains there is an early
deviation from the linear elastic behaviour of the other orientations. This is indicative of microyielding, and suggests

Fig. 5. (a) Engineering stressstrain curves for the TTC samples. The diracted intensity from selected grain orientations is shown in (b) and (c).

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

that these grains undergo early basal slip before the onset
of macroscopic yielding. This is consistent with previous
reports on other Mg alloys [2023]. For both alloys, the
behaviour of the f1 0 
1 2g grains was very similar.
The behaviour of the twinned material is slightly more
complicated. The twinned material is oriented with the caxis in the axial (compressive) direction. This orientation
is known to be a hard orientation, not favourably oriented
for basal or prismatic slip. The internal strain measurements indicate that these orientations continue to increase
in compressive strain as the stress increases (see Fig. 4), and
this behaviour was exhibited by both of the alloys. The
grains oriented with f1 0 
1 0g in the transverse direction,
which are a subset of those with {0 0 0 2} in the axial
direction, showed quite dierent behaviour between the
two alloys. The weaker alloy showed linear elastic behaviour up until a stress of 200 MPa, and after this point
the grains began to bear more strain per unit of applied

stress. The alloy with the higher Y concentration showed


f1 0 1 0g grains that were generated with a compressive
stress, and this remained higher than those on the weaker
alloy at all stress levels.
The f1 0 1 2g grains in the transverse direction are comprised of grains that began the test with this (or similar)
orientation, as well as those that are generated inside a twin
during the test. In the elastic region of the tests, these grains
show a linear elastic response, tensile in nature, up until the
yield point. After yielding, continued application of stress
does not impart additional internal strain, and this is indicative that those grains are deforming by basal slip. With
continued application of stress the internal strain within
this group of grains becomes less tensile, and eventually
becomes compressive in the transverse direction. We note
here that it may be anticipated that stresses in the axial
direction are compressive, while stresses in the transverse
direction are tensile. This was a common behaviour of this

Fig. 6. Internal strain data for the TTC samples. The macroscopic yield point is indicated by the grey horizontal dashed line. Macroscopic elastic
behaviour is indicated by the black dashed line, and corresponds closely to the Youngs modulus. Blue lines are visual guides, and indicate microyielding.
(For interpretation of the references to colour in this gure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

Fig. 7. (a) Engineering stressstrain curves for the 45IC samples. The diracted intensity from selected grain orientations is shown in (b) and (c).

Fig. 8. EBSD of 45IC samples: (a) Euler map where lenticular regions are twins; (b) misorientation histogram for map and rotation axis inverse pole gure
showing the f1 0 
1 2g tensile twin is present.

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

grain set, and it will be shown below that the same was
observed in the other two test orientations.
3.2. Through-thickness compression (TTC)
The orientation of the TTC samples results in compression in the normal direction of the rolled sheet. In this orientation, many of the grains have c-axes in the compression
direction, but it should be remembered that there is a signicant dierence in the texture between the two alloys.
The stressstrain curves are shown in Fig. 5a, and it is
apparent that the higher concentration alloy has a signicantly higher yield strength and also exhibits higher ductility. The intensity data indicates that there was negligible
f1 0 
1 2g twinning in either alloy (Fig. 5b and c).
Looking now to the internal strain measurements, we
note rstly that the data is signicantly dierent between

the two alloys, commensurate with their individual stress


strain behaviours. For easy reference, the approximate
macroscopic yield points of the alloys (146 and
173 MPa, respectively) are shown in the internal strain
plots as a dashed grey line. The majority of grains in
the TTC compression orientation have a c-axis in the
compression direction, and these grains are poorly oriented for the soft deformation modes of basal slip or
f1 0 1 2g twinning. Consequently these grains show a linear increase in microstrain with increasing applied stress
consistent with elastic behaviour (Fig. 6a and c). Early
in the test, well before macroscopic yielding, the f1 0 
1 2g
and f1 0 1 1g grains, which are well aligned for basal slip
show load shedding, indicative of early basal slip in both
alloys. This is concurrent with the {0 0 0 2} grains in the
axial direction showing accommodation of higher strains
than the average, indicating that as the early basal slip

Fig. 9. Internal strain data for the 45IC samples. The macroscopic yield point is indicated by the dashed line. Macroscopic elastic behaviour is indicated
by the black dashed line, and corresponds closely to the Youngs modulus. Grey lines to guide the eye, and indicate microyielding.

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

is initiated in the soft grains, the grains in hard orientations carry more internal strain.
1 2g grains, well oriented for basal slip, show
The f1 0 
the development of compressive strains in the transverse
direction, despite the fact that macroscopically the strains
in the transverse direction should be tensile (Fig. 6b and d).

the transverse direction microstrains from the two alloys


it can be seen that the f1 0 1 1g and f1 0 1 2g grains have
almost identical behaviours. There is only one group of
grains that behave dierently, and those are the grains with
f1 0 2 0g in the transverse direction. These are the grains
subject, most likely, to hc + ai slip.

3.3. Inclined compression tests (45IC)

3.4. Summary of the in situ results

The stressstrain response measured during the in situ


testing of the samples cut at 45 in the rolled plate is shown
in Fig. 7. Both alloys have a similar shape to their ow
curves, with the higher concentration alloy showing a consistently higher ow stress than the 0.5 Y alloy. Both ow
curves show the concave-up shape indicative of f1 0 1 2g
twinning, and this was further investigated in situ with
the intensity data (Fig. 7), and also postmortem through
EBSD studies of the microstructure (Fig. 8). The in situ
measurement of intensity changes conrmed the activation
of f1 0 
1 2g twinning (Fig. 7b and c). We note that in this
case, as well as the case discussed earlier of the IPC samples, the onset of twinning corresponded to macroscopic
yielding.
The internal microstrain data for both alloys was similar
(Fig. 9), which is consistent with the similar shape of their
stressstrain curves. The orientation of these specimens is
such that most of the grains are well orientated for basal
slip. Both alloys show early yielding of the f1 0 
1 2g grains,
evidenced by load shedding of these grains at strains well
below the macroscopic yield point. This is commensurate
with an additional load being transferred onto those grains
with hard orientations. As was found in the previous two
cases, the f1 0 
1 2g grains in the transverse direction also
showed the development of compressive strains despite
macroscopic tensile strains in the sample. If we overlay

It is apparent that in a large number of the data sets the


two alloys behaved in a very similar manner, despite having
very dierent Y concentrations. It was discussed in the previous section that overlaying data from the dierent samples shows a very consistent behaviour in many cases

Fig. 11. Summary of the microstrain data for both alloys and all three
compression directions for those grains oriented with {0 0 0 2} planes in the
axial direction.

Fig. 10. (a) Summary of the microstrain data for both alloys and all three compression directions for those grains oriented with f1 0 1 2g grains in the axial
direction, which are best oriented for basal slip. (b) Summary of the IPC and 45IC microstrain data for both alloys. Graph shows microstrain data for
grains with {0 0 0 2} in the axial direction, which are best oriented for pyramidal hc + ai slip.

10

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

(e.g. Fig. 10). Hence, the rst conclusion from the in situ
results is that basal slip (Fig. 10) and twinning (Fig. 3)
are remarkably similar in both alloys.
In order to extract from the data sets an accurate assessment of the CRSS for the basal slip mode, the data from
the axial microstrain has been collated for the three dierent compression orientations and for both alloys (Fig. 10).
It can be seen that there is good consistency across all of
the diraction data, and that the microyielding occurs at
an internal strain of 1450 le. This corresponds to an
applied stress of 65 MPa in the axial direction. As a result
of the similarity between data sets shown in Fig. 10a, the
CRSS for basal slip was assumed to be the same for both
alloys during the EPSC tting procedure.
Also shown in Fig. 10 is a similar plot for those grains
with the basal plane in the axial direction. These grains
have a hard orientation, being poorly aligned for the soft
modes of basal slip or twinning. These grains are likely
to deform by hc + ai slip. Upon straining, these grains ini-

tially follow linear elastic behaviour, and then deviate to


higher internal strain values as they begin to carry higher
loads than their surrounding soft neighbour grains. This
behaviour continues until yielding at which point these
grains show a deection in their microstraining behaviour,
and they move back towards the grey band which indicates
linear elastic behaviour. The yield point of these grains was
consistent for the IPC and 45IC samples, and is indicated
by the coloured arrows in the gure.
We note here that the IPC samples are not included in
Fig. 10b because the grains with {0 0 0 2} planes in the axial
direction in the IPC orientation are mostly generated
through the twinning event, and are not very numerous
in the starting microstructure. The twinned {0 0 0 2} grains
exhibit less compressive internal strain than the linear elastic prediction, and less again than the {0 0 0 2} axial grains
from the other two deformation geometries (Fig 11). The
magnitude of the discrepancy between the internal strain
in the twinned grains, and the internal strain predicted

Fig. 12. EPSC simulation results for the two alloys compressed in the orientations indicated. Individual data points represent experimentally measured
values, solid lines represent EPSC simulation.

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

from linear elastic behaviour is of the order of 800 le corresponding to an applied stress of 36 MPa in the axial
direction.
The remaining deformation mode to consider is the
f1 0 
1 2g twinning mode. We can see from Fig. 3 that the
onset of twinning is similar for the two alloys, and the internal strain development of the set of grains best orientated
for twinning, those with f1 0 
1 0g in the axial direction, is
also the same for both alloys (Fig. 4). Twinning commences
in both alloys at an applied stress of 150 MPa, and this
corresponds to an internal strain of 3300 le. As a result of
the similarity between the twinning onset in both alloys,
the CRSS for twinning was assumed to be the same for both
alloys during the EPSC tting procedure.
Finally, the last deformation mode to be considered is
the prismatic slip system. Unfortunately in this experiment

11

there were no orientations that show a predominance for


this slip system. The ideal way to measure prismatic slip
is through tension in the rolling direction, but in the case
studied here, compression in the rolling direction activated
f1 0 1 2g twining in preference to prismatic slip. We can
therefore conclude that twinning must be activated by a
lower stress than prismatic slip in the present case, but
insucient data is available to accurately quantify the
dierence.
4. EPSC modelling results
Only the initial elastoplastic region was simulated using
the EPSC code, and the best t results are shown in Figs.
12 and 13. We were not interested in the hardening
parameters since this added another free variable to the

Fig. 13. EPSC simulation results for the two alloys deformed in the IPC orientation, which has the best alignment for twinning. Individual data points in
(a) and (b) are experimentally measured values, solid lines represent EPSC simulation.

12

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

Table 1
EPSC simulation parameters used in the present simulations (all shear
stress values are in MPa).
s0

s1

h0

h1

LH

Twin fraction

0.5% Y
Basal slip
Twinning
hc + ai slip
Prismatic slip

17
95
120
105

10
0
10
10

10
0
10
10

0
0
0
0

1
1
1
1

0.06

2% Y
Basal slip
Twinning
hc + ai slip
Prismatic slip

17
95
170
120

10
0
10
10

10
0
10
10

0
0
0
0

1
1
1
1

0.045

simulations, so the Voce hardening parameters were


assigned an approximate value and then left unchanged
during the simulation process (see Table 1).
There is a reasonably good agreement between the
model and the experimental data (Figs. 12 and 13). For
all six simulations, the early microyielding of the basal slip
system ts fairly accurately with the experimental data. In
most cases, the load shedding of stress onto the grains with
poor alignment for basal slip, such as the {0 0 0 2} planes in
the compression direction, is well described by the model.
The generation of twins occurs in the EPSC simulations
at a stress of 150 MPa, and this is consistent with the
experimental data (see Figs. 3b, c and 13c).
Although the EPSC modelling conrmed a number of
the similarities in behaviour between the alloys, there was
one notable dierence in the twinning behaviour between
the two alloys. The twin fraction, the amount of the grain
that is assumed to twin each time the shear rate of the twin
system exceeds a critical value, was 30% higher in the low
concentration alloy. This may indicate that twin propagation is more dicult in the more concentrated alloy, and
this is the topic of a forthcoming publication on a similar
alloy system.

exhausted, and above 0.5% Y no further hardening of the


basal slip system is possible through alloying with this same
element. So too for the twinning mode, no additional hardening of the twinning mode was exhibited with an increase
in the Y concentration. However, the second-order pyramidal slip mode, hc + ai slip, did show a measurable increase
in CRSS on increasing the Y concentration from 0.5 to
2.2 wt.%.
Although no additional hardening of the basal slip and
twin modes is observed when increasing the Y concentration from 0.5 to 2.2 wt.%, there is most likely some solute
hardening of these systems between 0 and 0.5% Y. We
can readily assess the magnitude of this hardening by comparing the data obtained here with known values of CRSS
for an alloy that does not contain Y. Unfortunately there is
not a large amount of such information available in the literature for pure Mg, but there is signicantly more available for the common wrought alloys such as AZ31. In
the present case we have chosen to restrict our benchmarking exercise mainly to those studies which use an in situ diffraction component, because these are most likely to be
comparable to the present data set. This data is listed in
Table 2. Using this set of reference values, we now have
some yardstick by which to examine the magnitude by
which Y can harden (or soften) the dierent deformation
modes. The results of this analysis are shown in Fig. 14,
plotted as a function of concentration, c1/2. It can be seen
that all of the deformation modes harden to some extent
as a result of the addition of Y. For the case of twinning

5. Discussion
5.1. The eect of Y on solute hardening
One of the most interesting ndings of this study was
that the basal slip system is not particularly aected by
increasing the Y concentration from 0.5% to 2.2%. This
is somewhat unusual because most other alloying elements
have been shown in single-crystal studies to harden the
basal slip system [2]. This suggests that hardening of the
basal slip system through alloying with Y is very quickly

Fig. 14. Eect of Y concentration on the CRSS for the dierent


deformation modes in Mg.

Table 2
Summary of the CRSS values for the dierent deformation modes in Mg and AZ31. Values taken from literature data [6,8].
Alloy

Method

Reference

Basal

Prismatic

Twin

hc + ai

AZ31
Pure Mg

VPSC
Experimental only

[6]
[8]

7.2
8

64.5
38

Not measured
14

81.5
Not measured

N. Stanford et al. / Acta Materialia 78 (2014) 113

and hc + ai slip, the hardening appears to be exhausted


above concentrations of 0.5 wt.% Y. It is interesting to
note that the rate of solute hardening of the basal slip system appears to be lower than the other two deformation
modes examined. The reason for this dierence is not
entirely clear, and additional research into the solute hardening of Mg by Y is currently underway.
5.2. Strain accommodation by soft grains
It was noted in the Results section that the set of grains
with f1 0 
1 2g and f1 0 
1 1g planes aligned in the transverse
direction shows the development of compressive strains
during deformation, despite the fact that macroscopically
the strains in the transverse direction should be tensile
(e.g. Figs. 6 and 9). This was a consistent observation
across all samples. During deformation the f1 0 1 2g and
f1 0 
1 1g grains initially show linear elastic behaviour in
the tensile direction, and after the onset of microyielding,
the internal strain within the grains reduces, and eventually
moves into the compressive strain regime. These grains are
(within a few degrees) well positioned to extend in the
transverse direction by basal slip, but are also well aligned
for contraction along the same slip direction should the
local stress state become favourable for such an event. It
may be the case that after the hard grains yield and expand
in the transverse direction, there may be some softer grains
which, locally, contract to accommodate this shape change.
When averaged across all grains in the diraction condition, this may lead to the average strain in the grain set
moving from tensile strain back towards the compressive
regime.
6. Conclusions
Two binary Mg alloys, Mg0.5% Y and Mg2.2% Y
have been studied using in situ neutron diraction in three
dierent compression orientations. The behaviour of the
alloys in the elastoplastic region has been modelled using
the EPSC code in order to determine the CRSS for the
deformation modes. The following conclusions have been
drawn:
 In situ diraction measurements and EPSC simulations
have shown that the CRSS for basal slip is the same for
both alloys, 17 MPa.
 A similar result was found for f1 0 
1 2g twinning, where
both alloys showed the same CRSS value of 95 MPa.
 The more concentrated alloy showed a larger CRSS for
hc + ai slip, increasing from 120 to 170 MPa.
 Benchmarking against pure Mg and other common
alloys, it was found that the CRSS for basal slip, hc + ai
slip and f1 0 
1 2g twinning were all increased by the

13

addition of Y. Of these three deformation modes, basal


slip exhibited the least solute hardening as a function of
solute concentration.
 In all of the test orientations those grains well orientated
for basal slip showed the development of compressive
strains in the transverse direction after yielding. It is suggested that this is the result of the softer grains accommodating the transverse expansion of those grains in
hard orientations, resulting in the average internal strain
of the soft grains tending towards compression rather
than tension.
Acknowledgements
This work has been carried out as part as part of the
Light Alloys Portfolio Partnership EPSRC Grant EP/
C002210/1. The authors would like to thank Magnesium
Elektron for their nancial and technical support and Professor Carlos Tome for allowing us to use theEPSC4 code
to examine our data set. The authors also acknowledge the
support of Prof. Peter Hodgson.
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