Enhanced Formability of Ultrafine-Grained Aluminum Blanks by Local Heat Treatments
High strength aluminum blanks can be obtained by grain-refinement due to an Accumulativ Roll Bonding (ARB) process, in which two sheets are iteratively brushed, stacked on top of each other and subsequently rolled together. The high shear stresses during the rolling cycles result in an ultrafine-grained microstructure with an average grain size ranging between 200 to 1000 nm. Whereas the grain-refinement causes a drastically increased strength of the aluminum material, the formability of the ARB-blanks made of industrially used aluminum alloys such as the AA6016 deteriorates to the same degree as the strength rises. In this context, a local heat treatment of the ARB-blank reducing the material’s strength and increasing its ductility in specific zones will allow to recover the blank’s formability again. The research work presented in this paper studies the microstructural effects of a short-term heat treatment on the mechanical properties of ARB-blanks made of AA6016. Experimental investigations including hardness measurements, tensile tests as well as microscopic analyses show that heat treatments of only several seconds already result in significant increases of the material’s ductility and decreases of the material’s strength. By applying these microstructural mechanisms in terms of a specific heat treatment layout, functional gradients of strength and ductility adapted to the succeeding forming operation can be setup significantly enhancing the ARB-blank’s formability.
B. Shirvani, R. Clarke, J. Duflou, M. Merklein, F. Micari and J. Griffiths
M. Merklein and U. Vogt, "Enhanced Formability of Ultrafine-Grained Aluminum Blanks by Local Heat Treatments", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 410-411, pp. 169-176, 2009