Yield behavior of commercial Al-Si alloys in the semisolid state
AuthorPan, Q. Y.
Alexandrou, Andreas N.
SourceMetallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science
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Systematic experimental work and modeling efforts have been conducted to characterize the yield behavior of commercial aluminum alloys in the semisolid state. In this study, extensive compression experiments were performed to measure the yield stress of semisolid aluminum slurries at high solid fractions (0.5 to 1.0), and a cone penetration method was employed to measure yield stress at low solid fractions (<0.5). A functional relationship between yield stress and temperature/solid fraction has been established for these alloys. The effect of the processing route on the resultant yield stress of the material in the semisolid state was studied by evaluating commercial A356 billets manufactured via magnetohydrodynamic stirring, grain refining, and UBE's new rheocasting (NRC) processes, respectively. Detailed microstructure observations and image analyses reveal that the difference in yield-stress values among the alloys evaluated is intricately related to the semisolid structure. At a given solid fraction, the yield stress of semisolid slurries depends on microstructural indices (i.e., entrapped-liquid content, shape factor of the alpha phase, and the alpha particle size). In addition, numerical simulation results indicate that the finite yield stress of semisolid metals plays a significant role in determining the flow pattern during die filling. Depending on processing conditions, five distinct filling patterns (shell, disk, mound, bubble, and transition) have been identified and confirmed through experimental observations. Recent simulations demonstrate that the finite yield stress is also responsible for flow instabilities encountered in commercial forming operations, such as "toothpaste behavior." Specifically, most flow instabilities can be avoided by properly controlling processing parameters and the initial semisolid microstructure. A stability map that provides a control guide for semisolid processing has been developed and is presented.