This collaborative research between the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM, Spain), IMDEA Materials Institute (Madrid, Spain), and Michigan State University (MSU) combines an experimental and computational plan to study the microstructural evolution during processing and the damage nucleation and progression that occurs due to mechanical deformation in magnesium-manganese-rare earth (Mg-Mn-RE) alloys. Microstructural characterization is performed in order to develop a crystallographically-based understanding of how details of the deformation behavior correlate with grain nucleation and grain growth during processing and damage nucleation during ambient and elevated-temperature tension and creep experiments. In-situ tensile and tensile-creep experiments performed inside a scanning electron microscope allow for the identification of the initial damage events and deformation progression as well as the deformation evolution. Simulations of experimentally-characterized microstructures provide a means to interpret and analyze the quantitative experimental data. The details of deformation processes that cause damage are quantitatively identified. Such details provide the framework for introducing damage nucleation and deformation evolution information into microstructural models. The methodology developed integrates material and component design by developing predictive capabilities that link microstructural response with macrostructure performance.
This work seeks to overcome one of the most challenging aspects of structural alloys, increasing ambient and elevated-temperature strength and creep resistance while maintaining ductility. Other aspects of the work entail producing educational modules on processing and characterization of Mg alloys, expanding an established K-12 outreach program at MSU so that it can reach more K-12 students in the USA and Spain through remote operation of a SEM, providing research opportunities for undergraduate students involved in existing MSU programs as well as those to be involved in the study abroad program between MSU and the UPM. The educational modules are intended to promote materials education of Mg alloys. They are appropriate for inclusion in K-12 curriculum, and are created both in English and Spanish, the latter of which can be used not only in Spain but also in Spanish-speaking communities in the USA. Overall, the proposed international effort is intended to make a lasting effect by understanding processing-microstructure-property relationships of novel Mg-Mn-RE alloys, while also educating young scientists.