Deformation mechanisms in equiaxed, partially solid Al-15 wt.% Cu are studied in situ by coupling shear-cell experiments with synchrotron X-ray radiography. Direct evidence is presented for granular deformation mechanisms in both globular and equiaxed-dendritic samples at solid fractions shortly after crystal impingement. It is demonstrated that dilatancy, arching and jamming occur at the crystal scale, and that these can cause stick-slip flow due to periodic dilation and compaction at low displacement rate. Granular deformation is found to be similar in globular and equiaxed-dendritic samples if length is scaled by the crystal size and packing is considered to occur among crystal envelopes. Rheological differences between the morphologies are discussed in terms of the competition between crystal rearrangement and crystal deformation.
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