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Title: Effect of incremental equal channel angular pressing (I-ECAP) on the microstructural characteristics and mechanical behaviour of commercially pure titanium
Author: Qarni, Muhammad Jawad
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 1729
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2017
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Owing to its high specific strength, low density, outstanding corrosion resistance and excellent bio-compatibility titanium and its alloys are a material of choice in many aerospace, military, chemical and biomedical applications. Ti-6Al-4V is the most widely used alloy for medical device applications such as in total replacement implants, where higher strength characteristics are generally a requirement. However, research has suggested that alloying elements such as aluminium and vanadium present in that alloy can be toxic in the long term and are therefore undesirable for full bio-integration. Commercially pure titanium (CP-Ti) has superior biocompatibility but it lacks the strength required for most load bearing implants. One viable solution is to abandon the use of alloying elements and to improve the mechanical strength and performance of CP-Ti by nano-structuring or grain refinement. Severe plastic deformation (SPD) is an established method for introducing extreme grain refinement in metals. The technique imparts high plastic strain to the material without significantly changing the sample dimensions and is capable of achieving ultrafine grain (UFG) structure in metals. UFG materials are characterized by an average grain size of < 1 μm and with mostly high angle grain boundaries. These materials exhibit exceptional improvements in strength, superplastic behaviour and in case for titanium, improved corrosion resistance and enhanced biocompatibility. Among the various available SPD methods, equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) is the most widely used method for obtaining bulk UFG materials. However, ECAP (in its classical form) suffers from low productivity and is not a practical option for commercialization. Therefore, lately the interest is in the development of continuous SPD techniques, capable of processing very long or continuous billets for use in commercial applications. Incremental ECAP (I-ECAP) developed at the University of Strathclyde, offers such possibility. This promising technique has a strong potential of obtaining the much-needed high strength CP-Ti for biomedical implants on an industrial scale. The aim of the present research work is to investigate the feasibility of the I-ECAP process in improving the mechanical performance of CP-Ti by refining its grain structure. However, before processing CP-Ti on the I-ECAP experimental rig, it was necessary to eliminate the some existing limitations of the rig and improve the overall process efficiency. Major upgrades and enhancements were implemented as part of the present work. These include: automation of material feeding system, elevated temperature capability, press controller upgrade, data acquisition and process control during experiments. Moreover, finite element analysis was performed to optimize the tooling geometry by studying the billet deformation behaviour and subsequently new I-ECAP dies were designed and manufactured suitable for processing CP-Ti billets. Using the considerably improved I-ECAP experimental facility, CP-Ti billets were subjected to multiple passes of the I-ECAP process at elevated temperatures. To investigate the effect of different levels of induced shear strain per pass, billets were processed using two separate dies with channel intersection angles of 120 and 90°. Microstructural evolution and textural development in the material was tracked and examined using high-resolution electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) technique. Twinning and continuous dynamic recrystallization (CDRX) have been observed to act as a grain refinement mechanism during subsequent passes of I-ECAP. Analysis of the microstructure shows that UFG structure was successfully obtained with mostly high angle grain boundaries (HAGB) in the processed billets using the two dies. Room temperature tensile tests carried out before and after processing show significant increase in strength with some loss in ductility in the processed material. The yield strength and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of the material after I-ECAP processing using the die angle of 120° was increased by 81% and 25%, respectively. The material processed using the die angle of 90° exhibits an even higher increase in yield strength and UTS i.e. 118% and 33%, respectively. Compression tests conducted at different strain rates at room temperature show increase in strength with a three stage hardening behaviour, though the severely deformed UFG material suffers a loss in its strain hardening ability. Detailed microhardness measurements also show the increase in hardness after processing with a reasonable level of homogeneity. Finally, workability characteristics of UFG titanium is determined by compression testing at room and warm temperature conditions (400 to 600 °C). The work has successfully demonstrated that I-ECAP process is effective in improving the mechanical performance of titanium and has a potential for commercialization.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral