Crack growth rate measurements have been made in three mercury embrittled aluminum alloys each under three loading conditions. The alloys were 1100-0, 6061-T651, and 7075-T651. The loading conditions were fixed displacement static loading, fixed load static loading, and fatigue loading at two frequencies. The results showed that mercury cracking of aluminum was not unlike other types of embrittlement (i.e. hydrogen cracking of steels). Under fixed load static conditions no crack growth was observed below a threshold stress intensity factor (KILME). At K levels greater than KILME cracks grew on the order of cm/s, while under fixed displacement loading, the crack growth rate was strongly dependent upon the strength of the alloy tested. This was attributed to crack closure. In the fatigue tests, no enhanced crack growth occurred until a critical range of stress intensity factor (ΔKth) was achieved. The ΔKth agreed well with the KILME obtained from the static tests, but the magnitude of the fatigue growth rate was substantially less than was expected based on the static loading results. Observations of the fracture surfaces in the SEM suggested a brittle intergranular fracture mode for the 6061-T651 and the 7075-T651 alloys under all loading conditions. The fractographic features of the 1100-0 alloy under fixed load and fatigue loading conditions were also brittle intergranular. Under fixed displacement loading the cracks grew via a ductile intergranular mode.

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