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An advanced manufacturing process to produce nano structured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder—in a single step—was recently demonstrated by researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Using a novel Solid Phase Processing approach, the research team eliminated several steps that are required during conventional extrusion processing of aluminum alloy powders, while also achieving a significant increase in product ductility (how far a material can stretch before it breaks).
News - Sectors - Industry - Cost - Manufacturing
This is good news for sectors such as the automotive industry, where the high cost of manufacturing has historically limited the use of high-strength aluminum alloys made from powders.
The team's research is described in the paper "High Ductility Aluminum Alloy Made from Powder by Friction Extrusion," published in the June 2019 issue of Materialia.
High-performance - Aluminum - Alloys - Powder - Components
High-performance aluminum alloys made from powder have long been used in lightweight components for specialized aerospace applications, where cost is not a limiting factor. However, these alloys have typically been too expensive for the automotive industry.
A typical extrusion process for aluminum alloy powders is energy-and process-intensive, requiring multiple steps to mass produce the material. First, the loose powder must be loaded into a can and gases removed using a vacuum, which is called "degassing." The can is then sealed, hot pressed, pre-heated, and placed into the extrusion press. After extrusion, the can is removed, or "decanned," to reveal the extruded part made from consolidated powder.
Study - Team - Steps - Aluminum - Rods
In this study, the team eliminated many of these steps, extruding nanostructured aluminum rods directly from powder in a single step, using PNNL's Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion technology, or ShAPE.
In the ShAPE process, a powder—in this case, an Al-12.4TM aluminum alloy powder provided by SCM Metal Products, Inc., a division of Kymera International—is poured into an open container. A rotating...
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