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Technical Paper

Aluminum Extrusions for Automotive Crash Applications

One of the main applications for aluminum extrusions in the automotive sector is crash structures including crash rails, crash cans, bumpers and structural body components. The objective is usually to optimize the energy absorption capability for a given structure weight. The ability to extrude thin wall multi-void extrusions contributes to this goal. However, the alloy used also plays a significant role in terms of the ability to produce the required geometry, strength - which to a large extent controls the energy absorption capability and the “ductility” or fracture behavior which controls the strain that can be applied locally during crush deformation before cracking. This paper describes results of a test program to examine the crush behavior of a range of alloys typically supplied for automotive applications as a function of processing parameters including artificial ageing and quench rate.
Technical Paper

Optimization of Casting Parameters on an Improved AA6061 Aluminum Alloy for Semi-Solid Die Casting

A study was conducted to assess the performance and castability of a new AA6061 aluminum alloy variant specially designed for semi-solid pressure die casting. The AA6061 alloy has very desirable mechanical properties for the fabrication of automotive parts. However, it has limited castability due to its low silicon content. It is not well suited for shape casting processes which are, for their part, very interesting in terms of production costs for complex-shaped automotive components. In an effort to meet automotive industry requirements, new AA6061 alloy variants have been developed by Rio Tinto Alcan researchers over the past years, aiming to improve the castability of the alloy while maintaining its desirable mechanical properties, by increasing its die-filling capacity, decreasing its hot tearing tendency. The study described herein is an example of how the performance of a single variant was assessed in terms of castability. The full study was conducted on six separate variants.
Technical Paper

Controlling the Forming of Thermoplastics through Forming Power

Controlling the forming of large thermoplastic parts from a simulation requires very precise predictions of the pressure and volume profile evolution. Present pressure profile based simulations adequately predict the thickness distribution of a part, but the forming pressure and volume profile development lack the precision required for process control. However new simulations based on the amount of power required to form the material can accurately predict these pressure and volume profiles. In addition online monitoring of the forming power on existing machines can be easily implemented by installing a flow rate and pressure meter at the gas entrance, and if necessary, exits of the part. An important additional benefit is that a machine thus equipped can function as an online rheometer that can characterize the viscosity of the material at the operating point by tuning the simulation to the online measurements.
Technical Paper

Hot Forming of 7075 Aluminium Alloy Tubes to Produce Complex and Strong Components

Lightweight tubular products offering enhanced stiffness and strength have always been of major concern for transportation and recreational applications. Hence, industries have turned to complex-shaped tubes to increase product performance and reduce energy costs. High-performance aluminum alloys, like 7075 for instance, have good mechanical properties such as high strength, but low formability at ambient temperature. Fortunately, hot tensile tests on 7075 samples have yielded an increase in formability with temperature. Therefore, testing has recently been launched at the Aluminum Technology Center to develop a new product application. More precisely, a 1,000-ton hydraulic press was equipped with +600°C heating plates and fitted with a bicycle handlebar mold. The plates provide 10 separate heating zones that can be adjusted independently. A thermo-mechanical model was also developed using LS-DYNA to determine tube temperatures around the heating zones.
Technical Paper

Fundamental Ice Crystal Accretion Physics Studies

Due to numerous engine power-loss events associated with high-altitude convective weather, ice accretion within an engine due to ice-crystal ingestion is being investigated. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada are starting to examine the physical mechanisms of ice accretion on surfaces exposed to ice-crystal and mixed-phase conditions. In November 2010, two weeks of testing occurred at the NRC Research Altitude Facility utilizing a single wedge-type airfoil designed to facilitate fundamental studies while retaining critical features of a compressor stator blade or guide vane. The airfoil was placed in the NRC cascade wind tunnel for both aerodynamic and icing tests. Aerodynamic testing showed excellent agreement compared with CFD data on the icing pressure surface and allowed calculation of heat transfer coefficients at various airfoil locations.
Technical Paper

Progress towards a 3D Numerical Simulation of Ice Accretion on a Swept Wing using the Morphogenetic Approach

We have developed an original, three-dimensional icing modelling capability, called the “morphogenetic” approach, based on a discrete formulation and simulation of ice formation physics. Morphogenetic icing modelling improves on existing ice accretion models, in that it is capable of predicting simultaneous rime and glaze ice accretions and ice accretions with variable density and complex geometries. The objective of this paper is to show preliminary results of simulating complex three-dimensional features such as lobster tails and rime feathers forming on a swept wing. The results are encouraging. They show that the morphogenetic approach can predict realistically both the overall size and detailed structure of the ice accretion forming on a swept wing. Under cold ambient conditions, when drops freeze instantly upon impingement, the numerical ice structure has voids, which reduce its density.
Technical Paper

Carded Recycled Carbon Fiber Mats for the Production of Thermoset Composites via Infusion/Compression Molding

The use of carbon fiber reinforced thermoset composites has doubled in the last decade raising questions about the waste generated from manufacturing and at end-of-life, especially in the aircraft industry. In this study, 2.5 cm long carbon fibers were recovered from thermoset composite waste using a commercial scale pyrolysis process. Scanning electron microscopy, density measurements, single filament tensile testing as well as micro-droplet testing were performed to characterize the morphology, mechanical properties, and surface adhesion of the fibers. The recycled fibers appeared to be mostly undamaged and clean, exhibiting comparable mechanical properties to virgin carbon fibers. A carding process followed by an ultrasound treatment produced randomly aligned recycled fiber mats. These mats were used to fabricate composite plates, with fiber volume fractions up to 40 %, by infusion / compression molding.
Technical Paper

Thermo-Mechanical Fatigue Testing of Welded Tubes for Exhaust Applications

Selected ferritic stainless steel sheets for exhaust applications were tested under thermo-mechanical fatigue (TMF) condition in the temperature range of 400-800 °C with partial constraint. Straight welded tubes were used as the testing coupons to withstand large compression without buckling, and to understand the effect of welding as well. Repeated tests confirmed the observed failure scenario for each material type. The hysteresis loop behaviors were also simulated using the mechanism-based integrated creep and fatigue theory (ICFT) model. Although more development work is needed, for quick material screening purpose this type of testing could be a very cost effective solution for materials and tube weld development for exhaust applications.
Journal Article

Reduction of Hot Tears: Alloy and Casting Process Optimization Using Neutron Diffraction

The continued need of vehicle weight reduction provides impetus for research into the development of novel automotive casting alloys and their processing technologies. Where possible, ferrous components are being replaced by aluminum (Al) and magnesium (Mg) alloy counterparts. This transition, however, requires a systematic optimization of the alloys and their manufacturing processes to enable production of defect-free castings. In this context, prevention of hot tears remains a challenge for Al and Mg alloy thin-wall castings. Hot tears form in semi-solid alloy subjected to localized tensile stress. Classical methods of stress measurement present numerous experimental limitations. In this research, neutron diffraction (ND) was used as a novel tool to obtain stress maps of castings and to quantify the effect of two processes used to eliminate hot tears in permanent mold castings: 1) increasing of the mold temperature during casting of Mg alloys, and 2) grain refinement of Al alloys.