Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Ibrahim S. Jawahir

Abstract

Al 7050-T7451 alloy with good combinations of strength, stress corrosion cracking resistance and toughness, is used broadly in the aerospace/aviation industry for fatigue-critical airframe structural components. However, it is also considered as a highly anisotropic alloy as the crack growth behavior along the short transverse direction is very different from the one in the long transverse direction, due to the inhomogeneous microstructure with the elongated grains distributed in the work material used in the sheet/plate applications. Further processes on these materials are needed to improve its mechanical and material properties and broaden its applications.

The material with ultra-fine or nano grains exhibits improved wear and corrosion resistance, higher hardness and better fatigue life, compared to the one with coarse grains. In recent times, the development of novel processing technologies has gained great attention in the research community to enhance the properties of the materials employed in the aerospace, biomedical, precision instrument, automotive, nuclear/power industries. These novel processing technologies modify the microstructure of this alloy and improve the properties.

The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effects of cryogenic processes, including friction stir processing (FSP), machining and burnishing, on Al 7050-T7451 alloy to solve the inhomogeneity issue and improve its surface integrity. FSP is applied to modify the microstructure of Al 7050-T7451 alloy for achieving more homogeneous structure with near ultra-fine grains (UFG) which were less than 2 µm, particularly in cryogenic FSP with liquid nitrogen as the coolant. Approximately 10% increase could be observed from the hardness measurement from the samples processed by cryogenic FSP, in contrast to dry FSP. Also, the texture change from Al (200) to Al (111) could be achieved in all the samples processed by dry and cryogenic FSP.

Cryogenic machining and burnishing processes were also applied to enhance the surface integrity of the manufactured components with near-UFG structure. The highest cutting temperature was reduced by up to 44.7% due to the rapid cooling effect of liquid nitrogen in cryogenic machining, compared with dry machining. Nano grains were produced in the refined layers induced by cryogenic burnishing. And, up to 35.4% hardness increase was obtained within the layer depth of 200 µm in the cryogenically-burnished surface.

A numerical finite element method (FEM) model was developed for predicting the process performance in burnishing. Less than 10% difference between the experimental and predicted burnishing forces was achieved in the simulation of cryogenic burnishing, and reasonable predictions were also achieved for temperatures, severe plastic deformation (SPD) layers.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.162

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