Steel Grades Adapted to the Thixoforging Process: Metallurgical Structures and Mechanical Properties
Thixoforming of steel offers the advantages of casting technology in combination with high mechanical strength that can only be achieved by forging. The progress in establishing this technology in industry depends on the success in the development of suitable steel grades. Recent investigations dealt with the development of steel grades that are especially adapted to the thixoforming process. For this, alloys were developed with a lower solidus temperature and a wider process temperature range compared to classic forging steels. In consequence, the inductive heating process is more tolerant to inaccuracies and for a given liquid fraction the process temperature window is easier to handle. It is desired to obtain great degrees of deformation at rather low forming forces as these parameters determine the size of the needed presses. This behaviour is affected by the present liquid fraction in the slug and the heat transfer between work piece and die. It was detected that variations of the forming force have a direct influence on the quality of the thixoformed parts. In order to make the thixoforming technology of steels competitive versus other forming technologies, the parts must show a favourable microstructure and thus, good in-use properties. In this paper various solutions are compared. The main results obtained in the optimization research, namely, the steel grades adapted to semi-solid forming, the resulting process parameters and the mechanical properties of thixoforming parts will be presented for two exemplary steel grades. By producing a real automotive part, thixoforging of steels with regard to the adapted materials and to the ongoing industrial implementation of this process is proved.
C.G. Kang, S.K. Kim and S.Y. Lee
M. Robelet et al., "Steel Grades Adapted to the Thixoforging Process: Metallurgical Structures and Mechanical Properties", Solid State Phenomena, Vols. 116-117, pp. 712-716, 2006