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INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW INTRODUCTION Extrusion is a plastic deformation process in which a block of metal (billet) is forced to flow

by compression through the die opening of a smaller cross-sectional area than that of the original billet as shown in Fig. 1. Extrusion is an indirect-compression process. Indirectcompressive

Fig. 1 Definition and principle of extrusion forces are developed by the reaction of the workpiece (billet) with the container and die; these forces reach high values. The reaction of the billet with the container and die results in high compressive stresses that are effective in reducing the cracking of the billet material during primary breakdown from the billet (Gleiter,1981). Extrusion is the best method for breaking down the cast structure of the billet because the billet is subjected to compressive forces only. Extrusion can be cold or hot, depending on the alloy and the method used. In hot extrusion, the billet is preheated to facilitate plastic deformation. Classification of Extrusion Processes The two basic types of extrusion are direct and indirect, which are commonly used in aluminum industries as shown in Fig. 2

Fig. 2: Types of extrusion process (a) Direct Extrusion and (b) Indirect Extrusion
Conventional Direct Extrusion The most important and common method used in aluminum extrusion is the direct process. Figure 1 shows the principle of direct extrusion where the billet is placed in the container and pushed through the die by the ram pressure. Direct extrusion finds application in the manufacture of solid rods, bars, hollow tubes, and hollow and solid sections according to the design and shape of the die. In direct extrusion, the direction of metal flow will be in the same direction as ram travel. During this process, the billet slides relative to the walls of the container. The resulting frictional force increases the ram pressure considerably. During direct extrusion, the load or pressure-displacement curve most commonly has the form shown in Fig. 3. Traditionally, the process has been described as having three distinct regions: 1. The billet is upset, and pressure rises rapidly to its peak value. 2. The pressure decreases, and what is termed steady state extrusion proceeds. 3. The pressure reaches its minimum value followed by a sharp rise as the discard is compacted.

Fig. 3: Variation of load or pressure with ram travel for both direct and Indirect extrusion process.
Indirect Extrusion In indirect extrusion, the die at the front end of the hollow stem moves relative to the container, but there is no relative displacement between the billet and the container as shown in Fig. 6. Therefore, this process is characterized by the absence of friction between the billet surface and the container, and there is no displacement of the billet center relative to the peripheral regions.
AIM OF THE RESEARCH

The aim of the project is to describe the plastic deformation executed by combined torsion and ECAE of AA6063 to achieve significant improvement of strength of investigated material. JUSTIFICATION Aluminium alloys, like Al 6063, are some of the most widely used materials today which spans the entire range of industries. They are used in many consumer products, including pipes, railings, furniture, architectural extrusions, irrigation pipes, and transportation. The aircraft and aerospace industry uses aluminium alloys because it is much lighter than steel and every kilogram of weight reduction results in greater fuel savings and higher payloads. The car industry has increased its use of aluminium over the years as the price of gasoline has increased and the need to reduce vehicle weight has been of paramount importance. Today, much of aluminiums use is to reduce the weight of the item being produced, but it

has always been popular because it is easy to machine, cast, extrude, roll, etc. and many alloys are age-hardenable [Sterie et al 2008, Panait et al 2009]. Because of the widespread use of these alloys, it is important to understand their mechanical behaviour when exposed to different loading conditions, strain rates and temperatures, and to be able to model the behaviour and later, to predict the behaviour for any of these conditions. In order to improve mechanical properties of these alloys many processing routes can be applied. During the last decade, the equal-channel angular pressing (ECAP) route proved to produce ultrafine-grained bulk samples in a fully dense condition without changing the crosssectional dimensions of the samples. During ECAP, significant grain refinement occurs together with dislocation strengthening, resulting in a significant enhancement in the strength of the alloys [Ferrasse et al 1997, Horita et al 2007, Chakkingal et al 1999). BACKGROUND Current processing methods that are used to develop fine-grained superplastic microstructures in aluminum alloys involve extensive hot and cold deformation steps, usually in the form of hot and cold rolling. This approach has distinct limitations that can have a significant influence on the cost and quality of superplasticity-forming (SPF)-grade aluminum sheet. First, the extensive cold rolling required for SPF aluminum sheet typically results in substantial edge cracking and overall yield losses. The second limitation is that the high levels of hot and cold work necessary to achieve the desired microstructure requires starting with very large ingot size, while the final product is limited to thin sheet gage thickness. The ECAE process offers several potential advantages in the processing of SPF-grade aluminium alloys. The ability of the ECAE process to achieve high levels of work through localized shearing can provide a mechanism for distributing the eutectic constituent particles and dispersoids that play a critical role in the recrystallization process and resulting thermally stable fine grain size. In addition, with ECAE there is the unique ability to achieve these desirable microstructures without reducing the dimensions of the starting material, as is the case in conventional processing of SPF materials (Macheret etal, 1999). For the nanostructured processing of bulk materials, the current effective approaches include powder synthesis, amorphous casting and severe plastic deformation. These approaches produce the bulk materials into crystalline or quasicrystalline state with grain

size ranging from 1 to 100 nm. Among these approaches, severe plastic deformation (SPD) is the easiest and most cost-effective way as the process and die structure are simple. The severe plastic deformation approach for producing bulk nanostructured materials is usually implemented via equal channel angular extrusion (ECAE) process. The process allows the bulk materials to undergo severe plastic deformation and break down the original texture into ultra-fine structure after a few passes of extrusion and finally nanostructure is obtained. Currently, significant research interest has been expressed in this area and a lot of efforts have been invested into the researches, focusing on investigation of the material microstructure and mechanical properties related to ECAE process (Herian et al 2008, Iwahashi et al 1996). All of these have proven that the ECAE process is an effective approach for producing bulk nanostructured materials. However, the in-depth research on plastic deformation mechanics, process configuration and optimisation in ECAE process has not been fully addressed yet. This kind of research is critical as it can provide fundamental information for improving process and die performance and finally obtaining satisfactory ultra-fine structure

LITERATURE REVIEW DESCRIPTION OF EQUAL CHANNEL ANGULAR PRESSING (ECAP) Equal Channel Angular Pressing (ECAP), also known as Equal Channel Angular Extrusion (ECAE). This technique has originally been developed by Segal et. al. A billet of the test material is pressed through a die consisting of two channels with identical cross sections, intersecting at an angle , usually 60 < < 135 and often =90 (fig. 1). Some dies have a rounded corner with angle , others have = 0. Principle of this method consists in severe deformation of massive samples realised by shear without change of cross section. The sample is pressed through a die, in which two channels intersect, forming an angle usually of 900. Pressing is made either at room or at increased temperature. Equivalent deformation can achieve the value of 10 or even higher. The most critical for development of microstructure and resulting properties of samples is above all number of passes and selection of deformation route (manner of turning of the sample after each pass). It was established from the analysis of shear characteristics at various deformation routes that turning of the sample by 900 was optimal. Many works, dealing with optimisation of the laboratory ECAP equipment, were published. Promising modifications for production of ultra fine-grained massive semi-products in industrial practice have appeared (Herian et al 2008, Iwahashi et al 1996).

Fig. 3 A laboratory scale ECAP die. Because the channels have an identical cross section, the dimensions of the billet remain unchanged, and the process can in principle be repeated any given number of times. In spite of the actual popularity of the technique, some drawbacks of ECAP must be recognized. ECAP is a discontinuous process with limitations in up-scaling potential. Moreover, the volume fraction of useful material (with uniform microstructure and without cracks) can be

rather low because only the portion of the billet that has passed through the shear zone, will receive the desired deformation and grain refinement. (Barber et. al., 2004). There exists a variety of methods to impose large plastic strains on materials in order to produce fine-grained microstructures. Forging, extrusion, drawing, and rolling have been used for this purpose, but they all have significant drawbacks. Multiple reductions of the initial billet cross-section are limited by the geometrical change of the work piece, require high loads, and result in a nonuniform deformation. In rolling, for example, the strain levels needed to achieve the formation of ultra-fine grain structures are only reached in thin foils. These problems pose significant limitations for production of larger parts or synthesis and processing of new materials with the objective of developing special microstructures and properties. Many limitations associated with the conventional metal deformation techniques can be overcome by ECAE, a method was developed and patented in the former Soviet Union.1 The benefits of ECAE come from its ability to impose intense simple shear deformation through innovative die design. Unlike conventional extrusion processes, the cross-section of billets extruded via ECAE is not reduced. This process, therefore, can be applied repeatedly through multi-pass operations to achieve strains of significant magnitudes while preserving the billet size. Each consecutive pass through a 90-degree die arrangement increases the strain intensity by 1.15. Table 1 lists the effective strain intensity and equivalent reduction for multiple passes. There is no geometric restriction on the strain magnitude that can be achieved. It has been shown that four or more passes creates a homogeneous and stable microstructure.2 In addition, by choosing appropriate billet orientations as it enters the extrusion die on each pass, a variety of microstructures and textures can be developed. ECAE, therefore, has a potential to emerge as an important metal processing method for obtaining ultra-fine grain structures in alloys in bulk forms. Figure 4 illustrates the ECAE process (Macheret etal, 1999). The severe plastic deformation (SPD) is an effective approach for producing bulk nanostructured materials. The equal channel angular extrusion (ECAE) is the most efficient SPD solution for material nanostructuring as material billet undergoes severe and large deformation in ECAE process. To improve material nanostructuring, the ECAE die design and process configuration are critical. The deformation behaviours study in ECAE process provides information for optimising die design and process determination.

Equal-channel angular pressing (ECAP) has widely been investigated due to its ability of producing billets sufficiently large for industrial applications in functional or structural components. The significant strength increase based on grain refinement is typically accompanied by a significant decrease in ductility and toughness.

Fig. 4 Schematic Diagram of the ECAE process The ECAP method makes it possible to obtain the grain size of several hundreds of nanometres (Kurzydlowski, 2004). Materials with sub-micron size of sub-grains/grains (d=0.1-1 nm) are usually classified as ultra fine-grained materials. The ECAP method was so far unsuccessful at attempts of obtaining nanometric materials.

Depending on the billet rotation, different deformation routes can be applied. Route A has no rotation of the billet, route BA is rotated counter clockwise 90 on even number of passes and clockwise 90 on odd number of passes, route BC is rotated counter clockwise 90 after every pass, and route C is rotated 180 after every pass [Furukawa et al, 1998]. This technique can be applied to commercial pure metals and metal alloys, with FCC, BCC and HCP crystal structures, with coarse grains to fabricate ultra-fine grained materials that have no porosity and higher strength than the non-processed material [Mukai et al, 2001]. In the last ten years a large number of investigations regarding a severe plastic deformation (SPD) technique called Equal Channel Angular Pressing (ECAP), were published in the wake of the pioneering work by Valiev et al. and Segal. Justification for this interest lies in the fact that ECAP- deformed metals and alloys exhibit a very small grain size and consequently, their tensile strength is remarkably improved. All relevant work on this SPD technique has been recently summarized by Valiev and Langdon in a comprehensive review. The microstructural evolution of metals and alloys subjected to low and medium plastic deformation has been discussed by Liu and Hansen4, and Bay et al.5. The outcome of these studies is a model describing how, in severely deformed metals with high to moderate stacking fault energy, grain subdivision takes place by the formation of cell blocks separated by arrays of geometrically necessary dislocations. Within these cells there are regions relatively free from dislocations, bounded by low angle boundaries. The more severe the deformation, the narrow the cell blocks become, until the cell boundaries transform into high angle boundaries. This sequence has been often observed in ECAP - deformed metals and alloys and seems to explain the formation of very small grains (Furukawa, 2006) . A still active dispute is how the high angle dislocation boundaries transform into grain boundaries;

on this respect, a study by Chang et al.8 identified three types of boundaries in commercially pure Al subjected to ECA - deformation: i) polygonized dislocation walls of the type described by Bay et al.5; ii) partially transformed boundaries, and iii) proper grain boundaries. The evolution of type i to type iii take place by the dissociation of lattice dislocations and their absorption into the boundaries. This process decreases the free energy of the system since the resulting grain boundaries are of the equilibrium type. ADVANTAGES/USES OF ECAP Compared to classical deformation processes, the big advantage of SPD techniques (represented in particular by equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) is the lack of shapechange deformation and the consequent possibility to impart extremely large strain. SPD has received enormous interest over the last two decades as a method capable of producing fully dense and bulk submicrocrystalline and nanocrystalline materials. Significant grain refinement obtained by SPD leads to improvement of mechanical, microstructural and physical properties [Cojocaru et al, 2010]. Advantages and uses of ECAE include: Impartation of tremendous increase in material strength (Semenova et al., 2004; Amol et al., 2005). Production of Ultrafine-equiaxed grained (UFG) materials has been achieved e.g. grain size less than 1 m (Mathis et al., 2004) Unusual properties appear such as high tensile strength, ductility and the possibility to get super plasticity at low temperatures (Horital et al., 2000; Komura et al., 2001; Xu et al., 2004). Ability to control crystallographic and mechanical texture during multi-pass ECAE by judicious rotation of the workpiece between passes (Toth et al., 2004). Uniform and unidirectional deformations can be produced under relatively lowpressure and load for massive products (Park et al., 2005). Formation of complex microstructures: equiaxed, laminar and fibrous textures (Ferrasse et al., 2004; Li et al., 2004). Increase in hardness (Yu et al., 2005). Achievement of powder consolidation/ compaction (Senkov et al., 2005; Mathis et al., 2004).

SHORTCOMINGS Buckling instability of the extruding ram. The cross-section of the billet becomes smaller with the number of passes. Surface defects such as cracks, pores are also common. DEFINITION OF VARIOUS ROUTES USED IN ECAE Routes here mean the directions followed by the billet or test sample. ROUTE A: 0o, all passes; the billet is not rotated between successive passes. ROUTE B or BA: 90o, N even, 270o N odd; the billet is rotated 90o clockwise and counterclockwise alternatively. ROUTE C: 180o, all passes; the billet is rotated 180o. ROUTE D or BC: 90o, all passes; the billet is rotated 90o clockwise.

Fig. 5 Rotation schemes of the four ECAP routes INDUSTRIAL SIGNIFICANCE Nanotechnology is another upward technology trend in engineering science. From engineering material perspective, the bulk nanostructured processing technology is a promising and practical application of nanotechnology, as it directly processes microstructured material into a nanostructured one. In bulk nanostructured process, severe plastic deformation is a straightforward method and it directly breaks down grains in microstructure into ultra-fine structure and finally nanostructure. To implement SPD, the ECAE extrusion is the most efficient and economic approach. The research reveals indepth

deformation phenomena and behaviours in the process, which provides basic and fundamental information for process determination and configuration and tooling design of ECAE process to improve nanostructuring performance of die and process. The research also paves the way for potentially wide application of the technology in the near future.

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