The single-distance phase retrieval technique was applied to contrast-enhanced imaging of the dual-phase microstructure of a ferrite/martensite dual-phase with only 1.4% difference in density between the two phases. Each high-resolution absorption-contrast image was registered with a corresponding phase-contrast image, to analyse damage evolution behaviour. The loading step at which each microvoid was nucleated was identified by tracking the microvoid throughout tension, together with its nucleation site. Premature damage initiation was observed at a relatively early stage at various nucleation sites, such as the ferrite interior, martensitic interior and ferrite/martensite interfaces; however, the subsequent growth of such microvoids was relatively moderate. On the other hand, microvoids were also initiated later due to martensitic cracking after the maximum load was reached, and these microvoids subsequently exhibited rapid growth. The martensite cracking induced additional damage evolution mainly along nearby ferrite/martensite interfaces and intersections between the martensite and the ferrite grain boundary. It is notable that the microvoids originating from martensitic cracking exhibited characteristic shear-dominated growth under macroscopic tension, whereas those originating from the other nucleation sites exhibited traditional triaxiality-dominated growth. It was concluded that the ductile fracture was dominated by the substantial force driving the growth of microvoids located on morphologically characteristic martensitic particles.
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