Fatigue crack growth behavior of Al-Li alloy 1441 having a marginally lower lithium content, compared to 80xx and 20xx series Al-Li alloys is presented in this paper. This investigation was conducted on single edge tension -SE(T)\3 — specimens, under constant amplitude as well as under MiniLCA flight spectrum loading with the specific objective of determining the effects of stress ratio, orientation, thickness and cladding. Three thicknesses were considered: 1.2 mm(clad and unclad), 2.0 mm(clad and unclad) and 8.0 mm unclad. Constant amplitude fatigue tests were conducted at stress ratios of -0.3, 0.1 and 0.7. Testing was performed under ambient conditions and along three orientations, namely L-T, T-L and L+45 degrees. Crack growth characteristics of this alloy are compared with that of BS:L73 (2014-T4 equivalent) for assessing the possibility of replacing BS:L73.
Significant effect of stress ratio on crack growth rate was observed in all thicknesses. However, in case of 1.2 and 2.0 mm thick sheets, the effect was minimal at intermediate-crack growth regime. The orientation of the specimen does not adversely affect the fatigue crack growth behavior of 8.0 mm and 2.0 mm thick specimens. However, for 1.2 mm unclad sheet crack growth resistance in L-T direction was found to be superior to that along T-L direction. In majority of test cases considered, no significant effect was observed on crack growth rate due to thickness or cladding. Crack growth characteristics of Al-Li alloy 1441 and Al-Cu alloy BS:L73 under constant amplitude as well as MiniLCA spectrum loading are similar in the low and intermediate-crack growth rate regime. Based on these observations, it is felt that this Al-Li alloy has the potential for future aerospace applications.