High Temperature Deformation Behaviour of an Al-Mg-Si-Cu Alloy and Its Relation to the Microstructural Characteristics
Carrick, Roger Nicol
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The microstructural evolution and mechanical properties at elevated temperatures of a recently fabricated fine-grained AA6xxx aluminium sheet were evaluated and compared to the commercially fabricated sheet of the same alloy in the T4P condition. The behaviour of the fine-grained and T4P sheets was compared at elevated temperatures between 350°C and 550°C, as well as room temperature. Static exposure to elevated temperatures revealed that the precipitate structure of the fine-grained material did not change extensively. The T4P material, however, underwent extensive growth of precipitates, including a large amount of grain boundary precipitation. At room temperature, the T4P material deformed at much higher stresses than the FG material, but achieved lower elongations. Deformation at elevated temperatures revealed that the fine-grained material achieved significantly larger elongations to failure than the T4P material in the temperature range of 350°C-450°C. Both materials behaved similarly at 500°C and 550°C. Above 500°C, the grain size was greatly reduced in the T4P material, and only a slightly increased in the fine-grained material. At temperatures above 450°C, the elongation to failure in both materials generally increased with increasing strain-rate. The poor performance of the T4P material at low temperatures was attributed to the precipitate characteristics of the sheet, which lead to elevated stresses and increased cavitation. The deformation mechanism of both materials was found to be controlled by dislocation climb, accommodated by the self diffusion of aluminium at 500°C and 550°C. The deformation mechanism in the fine-grained material transitioned to power law breakdown at lower temperatures. At 350°C to 450°C, the T4P material behaved similarly to a particle hardened material with an internal stress created by the precipitates. The reduction in grain size of the T4P material after deformation at 500°C and 550°C was suggested to be caused by dynamic recovery/recrystallization. The role of a finer grain-size in the deformation behaviour at elevated temperatures was mainly related to enhanced diffusion through grain boundaries. The differences in the behaviour of the two materials were mainly attributed to the difference in the precipitation characteristics of the materials.