Combining Equal-Channel Angular Extrusion (ECAE) and Heat Treatment for Achieving High Strength and Moderate Ductility in an Al-Cu Alloy
The effect of equal-channel angular extrusion (ECAE) on mechanical properties of an AA2017 produced by powder metallurgy is investigated. Special attention is given to the influence of heat treatment, processing temperature and backpressure on the workability for achieving high strength and moderate ductility. This is of special interest, since it is often reported that Al-Cu alloys have low ductility and therefore are prone to cracking during severe plastic deformation. It is shown that ECAE at high temperatures (>220°C) does not necessitate backpressure to ensure homogeneous deformation but leads to a significant sacrifice in strength due to in-situ precipitation. Thus, most of the extrusions are done at considerably low temperatures. Performing room temperature-extrusion is most effective in achieving high strengths but also requires high backpressures. Due to severe strain hardening during processing, the strength increase is combined with a reduction in ductility. Recently it was reported that a post-ECAE aging of pre-ECAE solution treated material is effective in enhancing the ductility of aluminium alloys. This approach was successfully transferred to the current alloy. A high-temperature, short-time aging after only one extrusion, for example, doubles the failure strain to a value of ~13%. Compared to the naturally aged condition with coarse grains that serves as reference (T4), an increase of 15 % in yield stress (YS) was obtained while retaining the ultimate tensile stress (UTS). Another effective approach is the combination of a pre-ECAE solution treatment with subsequent under-aging prior to ECAE. It is shown that performing ECAE at medium temperatures (160-180°C) enables a better workability and additionally gives higher strengths and better ductility compared to the processing in the water quenched condition. A remarkable YS of 530 MPa and an UTS of 580 MPa combined with a moderate failure strain of 11.6 % were achieved.
Yuri Estrin and Hans Jürgen Maier
M. Hockauf et al., "Combining Equal-Channel Angular Extrusion (ECAE) and Heat Treatment for Achieving High Strength and Moderate Ductility in an Al-Cu Alloy", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 584-586, pp. 685-690, 2008