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Technical Paper

Increased Fatigue Strength of Powder-Forged Connecting Rods by Optimized Shot Peening

Shot peening is a commonly used surface treatment process used to improve the fatigue life of aircraft, automotive and other highly stressed structural components. This improvement is attributed to the formation of compressive residual stress on the surface layer of the material by the impingement of spherical media (shot). The compressive residual stress usually decreases the tensile stress created in the component by “in service” external forces and therefore increases the fatigue strength of the part. To quantify the improvement resulting from shot peening, the fatigue behavior of powder-forged connecting rods and laboratory test bars from the base material (2% copper steel), both in the stress-free (unpeened) and surface treated (shot peened) condition were compared. The fatigue data were correlated with the residual stress generated at the surface. The stress magnitude and depth were determined using x-ray diffraction analysis.
Technical Paper

1983 Ford Ranger Truck HSLA Steel Wheel

The demand for improved fuel economy in both cars and trucks has emphasized the need for lighter weight components. The application of high strength steel to wheels, both rim and disc, represents a significant opportunity for the automotive industry. This paper discusses the Ranger HSLA wheel program that achieved a 9.7 lbs. per vehicle weight savings relative to a plain carbon steel wheel of the same design. It describes the Ranger wheel specifications, the material selection, the metallurgical considerations of applying HSLA to wheels, and HSLA arc and flash butt welding. The Ranger wheel design and the development of the manufacturing process is discussed, including design modifications to accommodate the lighter gage. The results demonstrate that wheels can be successfully manufactured from low sulfur 60XK HSLA steel in a conventional high volume process (stamped disc and rolled rim) to meet all wheel performance requirements and achieve a significant weight reduction.
Technical Paper

Steel Powders for High Performance Automotive Parts

Increased use of powder-forged connecting rods in the automotive industry prompted an investigation into the suitability of powders from different suppliers for this application. Specifications developed by North American users call for ultra clean powders to enhance machinability and fatigue life. Powders from four manufacturers were each blended with graphite and lubricant, then pressed, sintered and forged to full density. Metallographic samples were prepared and evaluated for inclusion content. In addition, the powders were mixed to the composition of connecting rods, (C - 0.5%, Cu - 2% and MnS - 0.3%), and were similarly pressed, sintered and forged. Test bars were machined from the forged discs. Uniaxial fatigue tests were performed in the tension-compression mode and strain-life curves were developed. It was determined that all powders examined were very clean and were comparable in their inclusion content.
Technical Paper

Material Characterization of Powder-Forged Copper Steels

Powder metal based copper steels have found increased use in automotive applications, an example being powder-forged connecting rods. A characterization study was conducted to determine the effects of carbon content and manganese sulphide addition on the mechanical properties and machinability of these materials. Steel powder mixes containing 2% Cu and various graphite contents, with and without a MnS addition were pressed, sintered and forged to full density. Forged samples were then tested for tensile properties, hardness and fatigue strength. Machinability was determined by measuring tool life during drilling tests. It was found that increasing the carbon content from 0.28 to 0.69% has little effect on fatigue properties of powder-forged copper steels although the tensile, strength increased as expected. The addition of manganese sulphide did not affect the mechanical properties measured, but was found to significantly improve the machinability.