The paper describes the studies of ternary SnZn9Al1.5 lead-free alloy from the viewpoint of its mechanical behavior as well as microstructure examined by the light and scanning electron microscopy. The authors focused their attention specifically on the fatigue parameters determined by the original modified low-cycle fatigue method (MLCF), which in a quick and economically justified way allows determination of a number of mechanical parameters based on the measurement data coming from one test sample only. The effect of the addition of 1.5% Al to the binary eutectic SnZn9 alloy on its microstructure and the obtained level of mechanical parameters was analyzed. The phases and intermetallic compounds occurring in the alloy were identified based on the chemical analysis carried out in micro-areas by the SEM/EDS technique. It was shown that the addition of 1.5% Al to the binary eutectic SnZn9 alloy resulted in a more favorable microstructure and consequently had a positive effect on the mechanical parameters of the alloy. Based on the conducted research, it was recommended to use a combinatorial method based on the phase quanta theory to quickly evaluate the microstructure and the original MLCF method to determine a number of mechanical parameters.
The results of studies presented in this article are an example of the research activity of the authors related to lead-free alloys. The studies covered binary SnZn90 and SnZn95 lead-free alloys, including their microstructure and complex mechanical characteristics. The microstructure was examined by both light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The identification of alloy chemical composition in micro-areas was performed by SEM/EDS method. As regards light microscopy, the assessment was of both qualitative and quantitative character. The determination of the geometrical parameters of microstructure was based on an original combinatorial method using phase quantum theory. Comprehensive characterization of mechanical behavior with a focus on fatigue life of alloys was performed by means of the original modified low cycle fatigue method (MLCF) adapted to the actually available test machine. The article discusses the fatigue life of binary SnZn90 and SnZn95 alloys in terms of their microstructure. Additionally, the benefits resulting from the use of the combinatorial method in microstructure examinations and MLCF test in the quick estimation of several mechanical parameters have been underlined.