Formation of Internal Crack in High Speed Twin Roll Cast 6022 Aluminum Alloy Strip

(1)Materials Transactions, Vol. 51, No. 10 (2010) pp. 1854 to 1860 #2010 The Japan Institute of Light Metals. Formation of Internal Crack in High-Speed Twin-Roll Cast 6022 Aluminum Alloy Strip Min-Seok Kim* , Yoshiyuki Arai*, Yasuharu Hori* and Shinji Kumai Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan An Al-Mg-Si based 6022 aluminum alloy, which represents a wide freezing temperature range in solidification, was cast through highspeed twin-roll casting (HSTRC). Under a roll rotation speed of 60 m/min and an initial roll separating force of 14.1 kN, the cast strip showed a large central crack, which deteriorated a quality of the cast strip. The strip exhibited an equiaxed grain structure at the near-surface region and a band of fine globular grains at the mid-central region. The large central crack was mostly observed at a boundary between the central band and dendritic solidified shell. It was considered that decrease of cooling rate near the minimum roll gap caused the cracking due to residual liquid. In order to find the condition for defect-free strip casting, HSTRC was carried out under various casting conditions. Large-scale central cracking was prevented when a sufficient roll separating force was applied by increasing a solidification time, or increasing an initial roll separating force. From a direct temperature measurement during the HSTRC using a sensitive thermocouple, it was confirmed that a cooling rate increased with increasing the roll separating force. [doi:10.2320/matertrans.L-M2010818] (Received February 22, 2010; Accepted June 7, 2010; Published September 1, 2010) Keywords: twin-roll casting, strip casting, 6022 aluminum alloy, aluminum-magnesium-silicon alloy, pure aluminum, mushy zone, internal crack. 1.. Introduction. Twin-roll casting (TRC) has been applied in the aluminum sheet production for several decades.1) It is a cost effective process by which processing steps can be greatly reduced.2) A thin aluminum sheet can be cast directly from the molten metal through this process. However, TRC still shows low casting speed which is directly connected with productivity.3) Moreover, the application of conventional TRC is mostly limited to alloys exhibiting a narrow freezing temperature range in solidification.3) Recently, vertical-type high speed twin-roll casting (HSTRC) has been developed for producing thin aluminum strips with predominantly increased casting speed.4–8) The application of a pair of pure copper roll, a cooling slope, and a feeding nozzle were effective for increasing the casting speed. The HSTRC achieved a high cooling rate about 10 times higher than that of conventional horizontal-type twinroll caster.5) Using this caster, attempts were made to cast several kinds of aluminum alloys, particularly for an Al-MgSi based alloy,6–8) which is widely used for automobile panels.9) In the previous study,8) when HSTRC was conducted on 6022 and 6063 aluminum alloys, the 6022 alloy with a wide freezing range of about 50 C showed relatively larger strip thickness than that of the 6063 alloy with a freezing range of about 33 C. In addition, a large crack was observed at mid-thickness region along the casting direction, as shown in Fig. 1. The cracking seemed to be closely related to the resultant strip thickness influenced mainly by the freezing range of the alloys. The present study aims to investigate the effect of casting conditions on the occurrence of internal defects for 6022 aluminum alloy, which has a wide freezing range. Through a microstructure observation of the cast strip and a direct temperature measurement during the HSTRC, solidification *Graduate. Student, Tokyo Institute of Technology. Casting direction. Fig. 1 Appearance of a large central crack.. behavior of HSTRC 6022 alloy is discussed, compared with that of HSTRC pure aluminum with no freezing range. 2.. Experimental Procedures. 2.1 Materials A 6022 aluminum alloy and a commercially pure aluminum were prepared. The chemical compositions are shown in Table 1. One charge of the melt for casting was about 2.5 kg. 2.2 Casting procedure Figure 2 shows a schematic illustration of the vertical-type twin-roll caster used in the present study. The strip caster was equipped with a pair of pure copper rolls with a diameter of 300 mm and a width of 100 mm. No lubricant was applied on the roll surface. The roll was internally cooled with running water. A feeding nozzle covered with a heat-insulating material was mounted on the rolls in order to obtain hydrostatic pressure. A melt height in the nozzle was kept.

(2) Formation of Internal Crack in HSTRC 6022 Aluminum Alloy Strip Table 1 Chemical composition (mass%) of 6022 alloy and commercially pure aluminum.. 1855. Data logger Thermocouple. Si 6022 alloy. Fe. Cu. Mn. Mg. Cr. Zn. Ti. Al. Dummy line Tip of the thermocouple. 0.92. 0.17. 0.001 0.07 0.48 0.004 0.01 0.02. Pure 0.028 0.073 aluminum. bal. 99.88 Alumel Weight. Chromel. Dummy line Before casting. Data logger. Melt Crucible. Melt. Solidifying shell. Slope. Feeding nozzle. Pure copper roll (water-cooled). Roll Strip Dummy line Strip casting. Fig. 3 Schematic diagram of the casting procedure and temperature measurement using the thermocouple.. Spring (load) Strip. Fig. 2. Schematic diagram of the vertical-type high speed twin-roll caster.. at about 100 mm during casting. One of the rolls was loosely fixed with being supported by a series of springs. A cooling slope, 500 mm in length, was located above the rolls. The molten metal was directly poured onto the slope when the superheat of the melt reached about 5 C. The melt flowed down, and filled the nozzle. Rapid solidification begins when the melt contacts the casting rolls. The solid growing on the both roll surfaces encountered, and then was introduced to the minimum roll gap and widened the roll gap. Therefore, the resultant strip thickness was determined by a balance between total thickness of solidifying shells and the roll separating force. The initial roll separating force (namely, initial roll supporting force) applied before the casting was calculated by the shortened spring length. So the roll separating force during the strip casting can be estimated by total decrease of spring length from the initial value. A solidification length (namely, a contact length between solidifying shell and roll surface) was controlled by changing the position of the feeding nozzle. In the present study, about 3–4 m long strip was produced from the 2.5 kg molten alloys for each casting. 2.3 Microstructure observations The solidification structure was observed at a steady state section of the cast strip where the strip thickness was uniform. Optical microscopy observation was carried out on transverse cross sections of the cast strip. Polished specimens were anodized at 20 V and a current density of 0.2 Amm-2 for 90 s in a 2% solution of HF. A crack surface of the cast strip was observed by using a scanning electron microscope.. 2.4 Direct temperature measurement Thin foil-type alumel-chromel thermocouples were used in order to investigate temperature change at the central region near the minimum roll gap during HSTRC. The thermocouple was specially designed to increase sensitivity. Figure 3 shows temperature measurement procedure using the thermocouple during the strip casting. The thermocouples, which were connected with a dummy line, were inserted directly into the solidifying melt. The inserted thermocouple was caught between two solidifying shells, and then it was introduced to the minimum roll gap. Change in temperature was recorded every 200 ms using a data logger. 3.. Results. 3.1 Macrostructure of the cast strip Commercial 6022 aluminum alloys and pure aluminums were cast to compare a solidification behavior in terms of solidification-type, i.e. the existence of solid/liquid coexistence layer (mushy layer) at the growth front of solidifying shell on the roll surface or not. Figure 4 shows a grain structure of the transverse cross-section of pure aluminum and 6022 strips. Casting conditions are summarized in Table 2. Solidification structure of the pure aluminum strip exhibited columnar grains in the near-surface region and equiaxed grains in the central region, as shown in Fig. 4(a). On the other hand, for the 6022 alloys, dendritic solidified shells were grown from the both roll surfaces. They consisted of fine columnar grains and they were gradually replaced by equiaxed grains, as shown in Fig. 4(b). In the central region of the strip, a band of fine globular crystals was observed. Thickness of the central band was not constant along both transverse and longitudinal directions, but the difference.

(3) 1856. M.-S. Kim, Y. Arai, Y. Hori and S. Kumai. Roll. (b). Strip. Dendritic solidifed shell. Observed section. (a). Crack Band of globular crystals. Dendritic. Fig. 5 Morphology of the central crack surface in the HSTRC 6022 alloy strip.. (a). 3.5. 2.5. 0. Superheat. 5 C. Solidification length. 100 mm. Roll rotation speed. 60 m/min. Applied spring load Initial roll gap. 14.1 kN 1 mm. Roll size. 300 mm in diameter 100 mm in width. Thickness / mm. (b) Casting conditions.. 2 1.5. Fig. 4 Grain structures of the transverse cross section of cast strip. (a) pure aluminum, (b) 6022 alloy. Table 2. 3. 50 100 Initial roll separating force, F/ kN. 4. (c). 3.5. Thickness / mm. shell. Thickness / mm. solidified. 3 2.5 2 1.5. 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2. 0. (d). 150. 1 2 Initial roll gap, d / mm. 3. 0. 5 100 Roll rotation speed, V / m·min-1. 4. in thickness of the band structure had little effect on the resultant strip thickness. In the 6022 alloy strip, a large central crack was observed at around the interface between the dendritic solidified shell and the central band, as indicated by arrow in Fig. 4(b). Figure 5 shows a scanning electron micrograph of the crack surface. The shape of dendrite arms and globular grains were clearly visible on the fracture surface. This indicates that the central cracking is not due to the hot tearing in the solidified strip, but the fracture is related to solidification manner of the remained liquid and the formation of inter-dendritic shrinkage during the strip casting. 3.2 HSTRC under various casting conditions HSTRC was carried out under various casting conditions in order to find the condition under which the central cracking could be prevented. Casting conditions were chosen systematically based on the conditions shown in Table 2. The effect of each casting condition on strip thickness is shown in Fig. 6. Whether the crack is present or not was also indicated in the figures. It should be mentioned that the strip thickness was measured at the part in which the thickness was constant along the casting direction of about 2 m long.. Thickness / mm. 3.5 3 No central crack 2.5. Central crack. 2. (6022 alloy). (6022 alloy). No central crack. (pure aluminum). 1.5 0. 50 100 150 200 Solidification length, l / mm. Fig. 6 Relationship between strip thickness and casting condition of (a) initial roll separating force, (b) initial roll gap, (c) roll rotation speed, and (d) solidification length.. 3.2.1 Effect of initial roll separating force Figure 6(a) shows the effect of the initial roll separating force on the strip thickness. The strip thickness of 6022 alloy was compared with that of pure aluminum. Under the initial roll separating force of 0 kN, the strip thickness of 6022 and pure aluminum were 3.4 mm and 2.3 mm, respectively. As the initial roll separating force increased from 0 to 144 kN, the strip thickness decreased. It was about 33% reduction in 6022 alloy. In contrast to that, it was about 13% reduction in pure aluminum. The large reduction of strip thickness in 6022 alloy was considered to be due to increase of ‘‘squeezing out’’ of the mushy layer near the minimum roll gap. The large central cracking was prevented when the initial roll separat-.

(4) Formation of Internal Crack in HSTRC 6022 Aluminum Alloy Strip. 1857. Defect. Roll. Roll. Microstructure. Central band. Minimum roll gap Central band Macro. Dendritic solidified shell Micro. 500 µm 14.1 kN. 70.5 kN. Fig. 7 Solidified structure of transverse cross section in HSTRC 6022 alloy for initial roll separating force of 14.1 and 70.5 kN.. ing force was higher than 70.5 kN. Figure 7 shows solidification structure of transverse cross section in 6022 alloy strips. The central band region of the strip, consisting mostly of globular crystals, is indicated by an arrow. The internal defects at the central region were considerably reduced under the initial roll separating force of 70.5 kN. No large crack was observed at the boundary between the central band and the dendrite shell. 3.2.2 Effect of initial roll gap When a total thickness of two solidified shells are larger than the initial roll gap, a roll separating force increases due to the enlargement of the minimum roll gap. In this case, the roll separating force slightly increased with decreasing the initial roll gap. Figure 6(b) shows the relationship between the initial roll gap and the strip thickness under the initial roll separating force of 14.1 kN. The strip thickness was almost constant, and the reduction of the initial roll gap had little effect on preventing the central cracking. 3.2.3 Effect of roll rotation speed Figure 6(c) shows the relationship between the roll rotation speed and the strip thickness. For the same solidification length, the thickness of solidifying shell on the roll surface decreased with increasing the roll rotation speed and resultantly the strip thickness decreased. The larger strip thickness results in increasing the roll separating force due to additional enlargement of the roll gap. Under the initial roll separating force of 14.1 kN, the large central crack was prevented when the roll rotation speed was decreased up to 30 m/min. 3.2.4 Effect of solidification length Figure 6(d) shows the relationship between the solidification length and the strip thickness. In a similar context of effect of the roll rotation speed, the strip thickness increases with increasing the solidification length, namely, with increasing a solidification time. In this study, the large central crack was still observed even though the solidification. 14.1 kN. 70.5 kN. 1 mm. 100 µm. Fig. 8 Macro and microstructure of longitudinal cross section of artificially interrupted sample (Bottom of each figure corresponds to the position of the minimum roll gap).. length was extended up to 150 mm under the 14.1 kN initial roll separating force. 3.3 Interrupted casting A roll rotation was interrupted intentionally during HSTRC to investigate the solidification process at the upper side of the minimum roll gap. Figure 8 shows a longitudinal macro- and microstructure of the interrupted-sample for the initial roll separating force of 14.1 and 70.5 kN, respectively. The microstructure corresponds to the region covering from the minimum roll gap (the bottom of the figure) to the upper side. Under the initial roll separating force of 14.1 kN, a large amount of defects characterized by dark region in the figure were observed in the central band region. The boundary between the central band and the dendritic solidified shell.

(5) M.-S. Kim, Y. Arai, Y. Hori and S. Kumai. (a). 1000. Temperature, T / K. 1858. 900. Feeding nozzle. Floating globular crystal. Minimum roll gap. 800 0 kN. 700. Roll. 14.1 kN. Roll. 144 kN 600. Cooling rate / K·s-1. 30000. Mushy layer. 0 kN 14.1 kN 144 kN. 20000. (Semi-solid). 10000. Solidified shell (Solid). 0 0. 0.005. 0.01. 0.015. Roll separating force. (b). 1000. Temperature, T / K. Time, t / s. 900. Minimum roll gap. Minimum roll gap. Central band region 800. Fig. 10 Schematic diagram of solidification process in HSTRC 6022 alloy.. 0 kN 700. 14.1 kN 144 kN. 600. Cooling rate / K·s-1. 60000 0 kN 14.1 kN 144 kN. 40000. 20000. 0 0. 0.002. 0.004. 0.006. Time, t / s. Fig. 9 Changes in temperature and cooling rates at the central region of strips during HSTRC under various initial roll separating force. (a) 6022 alloy, (b) pure aluminum. was clear. The defects were considered to be shrinkage cavities that could not be compensated by liquid flow. On the other hand, under the high initial roll separating force of 70.5 kN, the number of defects were considerably reduced, and the boundary was not clear. 3.4 Temperature change in central region of the strip In order to investigate the influence of the formation of mushy layer on cooling rates at the minimum roll gap, a temperature change in the central region was directly measured by using a fine and sensitive thermocouples. The obtained result is shown in Fig. 9. In the figure, each interval of time on the cooling curves was differentiated to estimate the cooling rates. The time representing the maximum cooling rate was regarded as the moment at which the strip passed the minimum roll gap. The change of cooling rates were also investigated with respect to the change of the initial. roll separating force for the casting of both 6022 and pure aluminum. Figure 9(a) shows that the maximum cooling rate of 6022 alloy was about 8000 C/s under the initial roll separating force of 0 kN, and this increased with increasing the initial roll separating force, representing about 22000 C/s under 144 kN. For the pure aluminum, the cooling rate under the initial roll separating force of 0 kN was about 8000 C/s, which is analogous to that of the 6022 alloy, but the cooling rate increased remarkably when the initial roll separating force was applied, as shown in Fig. 9(b). The cooling rate was about 50000 C/s for the initial roll separating force of 14.1 kN and 144 kN. 4.. Discussion. 4.1 Formation of HSTRC 6022 alloy strip In a fundamental process of twin-roll casting, two solidifying shells on the roll surfaces meet near the minimum roll gap, and then the connected shell is introduced to the roll gap under the compressive force of the rolls. Formation manner of the strip near the minimum roll gap is greatly influenced by casting conditions and chemical composition of casting alloys.1) The cast strip occasionally shows several kinds of casting defects depending on these conditions.3,10) In the HSTRC of 6022 alloy, the chemical composition controlling a freezing temperature range has a great effect on a quality of the cast strip. Figure 10 shows a schematic diagram of formation process of the strip during HSTRC for 6022 alloy. A growth-front of solidifying shell on the roll surface shows a mushy layer consisting of twiggy dendrite branches and liquid. The mushy layer is hardly formed in pure aluminum, but shows a solid-type growth front.11) In general, a freezing range of alloy plays an important roll on.

(6) Formation of Internal Crack in HSTRC 6022 Aluminum Alloy Strip. 1859. Solidification time, t / s. 0.25. Central band. Initial roll gap: 1 mm. No central crack. 0.2 0.15 0.1 0.05. Central crack 0 0. 50. 100. 150. Initial roll separating force, F / kN. Fig. 12 Casting limit diagram for 6022 alloy.. 100 µm Melt. Mushy layer (Liquid + solid). Fig. 11 Microstructure of central region in 6022 alloy strip. Roll. formation of mushy layer during casting process.12) Alloys with a wide freezing range show a wide mushy zone, although the width of mushy zone is reduced with increasing cooling rates.13) The wide freezing range of 6022 alloy can make a thick mushy layer at the growth front. The dendrite branches in the mushy layer are considered to be the origin of the band structure consisting of well-grown globular crystals. Figure 11 shows the microstructure of the central band region. The central band shows a bimodal structure consisting of globular crystals of small grain size (about 5 mm) and relatively large grain size (about 20 mm). Seeds of the large globular crystals are considered to result from the nucleated crystals on the roll surfaces.14) A fragmentation of dendrite tip in the mushy layer by convection is also possible.15) These seeds grow into the globular crystals under the condition of the melt convection.16) In HSTRC, high cooling rates is required at the central band region near the minimum roll gap to prevent occurrence of internal defects due to volume reduction of the remained liquid at the final solidification. For 6022 alloy, the relatively large amount of mushy layer lowers cooling rate near the minimum roll gap, resulting in occurrence of the large central crack. 4.2 Effect of casting conditions on internal cracking As shown in Fig. 6, the large central crack was prevented under a relatively low roll rotation speed and a large initial roll separating force. The roll rotation speed and the solidification length are closely related to the solidification time that is defined as contact time of strip to the roll surface from nozzle tip through the minimum roll gap. Therefore, larger solidification time is able to be obtained from lower roll rotation speed and longer solidification length. Increase of solidification time results in an increase of a thickness of solidifying shell on the roll surface and as a consequence, the roll separating force increases due to an enlargement of the initial roll gap. Applying a large initial roll separating force also leads to increase of the final roll separating force, to which the strip subjects near the minimum roll gap. For 6022 alloy, a sound casting limit diagram with respect to the occurrence of the large central crack was illustrated using the relationship between the solidification time and the initial roll separating force, as shown in Fig. 12. Central crack and no central crack conditions were distinguished by a dotted line.. Roll. Minimum roll gap. Solid. Low roll separating force. High roll separating force. Fig. 13 Schematic diagram of HSTRC 6022 alloy; effect of roll separating force on formation manner of strip.. The experimental results included in the diagram were for the cast strips produced under the initial roll gap of 1 mm. The dotted line can possibly move toward left side of the diagram with decreasing the initial roll gap. According to the diagram, applying sufficient roll separating force is required to prevent the central crack. 4.3. Effect of roll separating force on solidification behavior of HSTRC aluminum alloy strip For both 6022 alloy and pure aluminum, cooling rates increased with increasing the initial roll separating force from 0 to 14.1 kN. This suggests that the roll separating force works to maintain a good contact condition between the strip and the roll, as shown in Fig. 9. When the initial roll separating force was applied, the cast strip of pure aluminum showed the dramatically increased cooling rate near the minimum roll gap regardless of degree of the initial roll separating force. For the casting of 6022 alloy, the cooling rate increased as the roll separating force increased, but the cooling rate did not reach the level of pure aluminum. This result is related to the difference of solidification manner near the minimum roll gap. The thick mushy layer can not promote heat-transport from the mid-central part of the solidifying strip to the roll surfaces at the minimum roll gap where two solidifying shells meet. This results in the decreased cooling rate, and so, a large amount of residual liquid can be remained at the central region during strip casting, which is origin of the large central crack as well as small defects. Therefore, applying sufficient roll separating force is required in order to prevent the occurrence of the defects during HSTRC of wide freezing range aluminum alloys, as shown in Fig. 13..

(7) 1860. 5.. M.-S. Kim, Y. Arai, Y. Hori and S. Kumai. Conclusions. A formation of mushy layer at the growth-front of solidifying shell on the roll surface is closely related to the occurrence of internal defects in 6022 alloy during HSTRC. A thick mushy layer of 6022 alloy induced by a wide freezing range lowers cooling rates near the minimum roll gap. As a consequence, large-scale cracking occurs at mid-central region of the cast strip due to residual liquid. Applying sufficient roll separating force is effective to increase cooling rates near the minimum roll gap and to produce a sound strip with no crack in the central region. REFERENCES 1) R. Cook, P. G. Grocock, P. M. Thomas, D. V. Edmonds and J. D. Hunt: J. Mater. Proc. Technol. 55 (1995) 76–84. 2) S. W. Hadley, S. Das and J. W. Miller: Aluminum R&D for Automotive Uses and the Department of Energy’s Roll, (ORNL, 1999) p. 157. 3) M. Yun, S. Lokyer and J. D. Hunt: Mater. Sci. Eng. A 280 (2000). 116–123. 4) T. Haga and S. Suzuki: J. Mater. Proc. Technol. 143–144 (2003) 895– 900. 5) T. Haga, K. Takahashi, M. Ikawa and H. Watari: J. Mater. Proc. Technol. 140 (2003) 610–615. 6) K. Suzuki, S. Kumai, Y. Saito, A. Sato and T. Haga: Mater. Trans. 45 (2004) 403–406. 7) K. Suzuki, S. Kumai, Y. Saito and T. Haga: Mater. Trans. 46 (2005) 2602–2608. 8) K. Suzuki, S. Kumai, K. Tokuda, T. Miyazaki, A. Ishihara, Y. Nagata and T. Haga: Mater. Sci. Forum 519–521 (2006) 1821–1826. 9) T. Sakurai: Kobelco Technol. Rev., No. 28, Oct. (2008). 10) Ch. Gras, M. Meredith and J. D. Hunt: J. Mater. Proc. Technol. 167 (2005) 62–72. 11) W. Kurz and D. J. Fisher: Fundamentals of Solidification, (1998, Trans. Tech. Publications Ltd., Switzerland) pp. 69–74. 12) J. C. Borland: Br. Weld. J. 7 (1960) 508–512. 13) E. Cadirli, I. Karaca, H. Kaya and N. Marasli: J. Crystal Growth 255 (2003) 190–230. 14) A. Ohno, T. Motegi and H. Soda: Trans. ISIJ 11 (1971) 18–23. 15) C. J. Paradies, R. N. Smith and M. E. Glicksman: Metall. Mater. Trans. A 28 (1997) 875–883. 16) M. C. Flemings: Metall. Trans. 5 (1974) 2121–2134..

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