Microstructural Features and Mechanical Properties after Industrial Scale ECAP of an Al 6060 Alloy
Future applications of ultrafine-grained, high performance materials produced by equal-channel angular pressing (ECAP) will most likely require processing on an industrial scale. There is a need for detailed microstructural and mechanical characterisation of large-scale, ECAP-processed billets. In the present study, we examine the microstructure and mechanical properties as a function of location and orientation within large (50 x 50 x 300 mm³) billets of an Al 6060 alloy produced by ECAP (90° channel angle) with different magnitudes of backpressure. The internal deformation is analysed using a grid-line method on split billets. Hardness is recorded in longitudinal and cross-sectional planes. In order to further characterise the local, post-ECAP mechanical properties, tensile tests in different layers are performed. Moreover, low voltage scanning transmission electron microscopy observations highlight relevant microstructural features. We find that the homogeneity and anisotropy of mechanical properties within the billets depend significantly on the geometry of the shear zone. We demonstrate that deformation gradients can be reduced considerably by increasing the backpressure: The opening-angle of the fan-shaped shear zone is reduced from ψ ≈ 20 ° to ψ ≈ 7 ° when the backpressure is increased from 0 to 150 MPa. Backpressures of 150 MPa result in excellent homogeneity, with a relative variation of tensile mechanical properties of less than 7 %. Our investigation demonstrates that ECAP is suitable for processing homogenous, high performance materials on a large scale, paving the way for advanced industrial applications.
Jing Tao Wang, Roberto B. Figueiredo and Terence G. Langdon
P. Frint et al., "Microstructural Features and Mechanical Properties after Industrial Scale ECAP of an Al 6060 Alloy", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 667-669, pp. 1153-1158, 2011